The Strange Rehabilitation of the Black Panther Party

Originally published at: The Strange Rehabilitation of the Black Panther Party – Quillette

Isn’t it a little late for the rehabilitation of the Black Panther Party (BPP)? After all, the organization that first caught the public’s attention in 1969 was already in its death throes by the early 1970s, beset by internal splits, criminal prosecutions, and violent faction-fighting. Yet, five decades later, the BPP is being energetically romanticized,…


“I’m sorry I had a fight in the middle of your Black Panther Party”- Forest Gump.

It’s funny, but history seems to go through a period of distortion after the event, in the service of the cultural narrative of the moment. It’s only when history is of no use to political demagogues, that we finally get a fair facsimile of the events which actually occurred. Even then it’s impossible to imagine the brutal necessities and strange superstitions which governed the lives of ordinary people.

I wonder what they will write about us a century from now.