In addition to the BFC/A’s Black Panther Film Festival (October 17-October 22, 2016) the Black Panther Party’s 50th anniversary has been commemorated from coast to coast. The Maysles Documentary Center of New York City and the Oakland Museum of California are among two venues that have highlighted The Black Panther Party’s rise to prominence 50 years ago.
The Maysles Documentary Center of New York City just concluded its program, 7th Annual Black Panther Party Film Festival—The Black Panthers: Vanguard of a Revolution, which was produced by the Black Panther Commemoration Committee of New York. This program featured two films Freeman Brothers (2015) and Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015). Freeman Brothers highlights the stories of recently departed brothers Ronald and Roland Freeman who were two of the few original members of the Southern California chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in 1967 and were involved in the shootout on Dec. 8, 1969 involving over 300 LAPD officers and the SWAT team.
A groundbreaking film in its own right, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015) is the first feature length documentary to examine the Black Panther Party’s importance to American cultural, political consciousness, and take a critical look at Party’s shortcomings. Through the layering of archival footage and interviews with individuals who witnessed the different phases of the Black Panther Party, filmmaker Stanley Nelson creates a compelling narrative that showcases one of America’s most defining social, political, and historical moments. A Post-screening Q&A with producer Laurens Grant and original members of the Black Panther Party followed the screening.
The Oakland Museum of California (the city that boasts the title of the Black Panther Party’s birthplace) debuted its Black Panther Party exhibit in early October, 2016.
The exhibit, which will be on display until February, 2017 takes a multimedia approach to its curation.
Through the showcasing of a combination of historical artifacts, rare photographs, first-person accounts from former Panthers, scholars, and community members, film screenings and a contemporary art show, the exhibit serves to further evidence the Party’s cultural, artistic, and political influences, which transcend the limits of geography and time.
To take part in the local commemoration of the Black Panther Party’s 50th Anniversary, please consider attending screenings of The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975 / Mayday at the Indiana University Cinema, which will take place on Saturday 0ctober 22, at 7 PM.