Vanguard of the Revolution

The Black Panthers, Vanguard of the Revolution

What it is: An interview of Stanley Nelson by Eric Arnold. The interview is about an upcoming documentary by Mr. Arnold, and discusses his documentary and the Black Panthers.

Length: 30 minutes

What I liked: 

Prior to this interview, everything I knew about the Black Panthers probably fit into the realm of propaganda. The history lessons I took away from my youth were that they were a violent group of dangerous black people who fought in contrast to the Civil Rights movement. I vaguely remember seeing replays of footage from Detroit or Oakland that helped prove the violent tendencies of members of this group. Even the movie The Butler did little but to reinforce the image and stereotypes in my mind.

What stood out to me:

I am starting to be amazed by the revisions that history has undergone. Just like America has deleted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s anti-capitalism rhetoric from the conversation in order to elevate him (as discussed in A Dream Remembered), the positive changes the Black Panthers brought to America have gone largely erased. I am glad to be learning and seeing people bringing truth to history.

22:48 - I thought it was a lot of fun to here about the Sacramento Rally, and how the Black Panthers stole media attention from Ronald Reagan.

A Poignant Comment:

“...the Civil Rights movement was successful and changed the lives drastically for a limited number of black people. But for the majority of black people, it didn’t change their lives all that much. You now, they’re living in segregated communities, they’re still going to segregated schools, they’re still dealing with the problems of unemployment, their still dealing with problems police brutality, they’re still dealing with problems of racism. You know rampant racism in this country” (Stanley Nelson, 10:15).