Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Black Panthers 1968- Howard L. Bingham

If anything is abundantly evident in this photographic tribute to The Black Panthers, it's that Howard L.Bingham is quite the competent, indeed masterful, photo- journalist. And that's clearly evident in his effective compositions capturing the little gestures rife with tension and meaning. The emotion and feel of the era is abundantly ingrained in these images of Panther leaders, their followers- and their adversaries, as well as in more private, intimate portraits behind the scenes. One clearly gets the hope, optimism and militancy that the Panthers evoked and inspired in the late 60s; a positive, progressive, grassroots movement that was tragically cut short by "extra legal" governmental infiltration, persecution (COINTELPRO)- and ultimately, the carefully orchestrated and condoned murder of Fred Hampton by the FBI and Chicago Police.

  1. We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black and oppressed communities.
  2. We want full employment for our people.
  3. We want an end to the robbery by the Capitalists of our Black and oppressed communities.
  4. We want decent housing, fit for the shelter of human beings.
  5. We want decent education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society.
  6. We want completely free health care for all Black and oppressed people.
  7. We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of Black people, other people of color, and all oppressed people inside the United States.
  8. We want an immediate end to all wars of aggression.
  9. We want freedom for all Black and oppressed people now held in U.S. Federal, State, County, City and Military prisons and jails. We want trials by a jury of peers for all persons charged with so-called crimes under the laws of this country.
  10. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace, and people's community control of modern technology.


Eric Rose said...

The dream and the reality of the Black Panthers were two very different things. Their goals were/are admirable however to describe them as "positive" I think is a stretch.

Stan B. said...

I'm not by any means saying they were all saints- but I will say this, the tactics that were employed against them by both local and federal "law enforcement" were far more criminal and malicious than any of the protocol that the Panthers practiced. COINTELPRO was one of the most devious and pernicious programs ever devised against US citizenry, and was ultimately responsible for the Panthers downward spiral into paranoia and ineffectiveness. Thoroughly infiltrated towards the end, "evidence" would be sent to fellow members and allies of various "plots" and "betrayals." No one knew who could be trusted- Fred Hampton's own body guard was an FBI plant who drugged him with barbiturates the night before he was slain in a hail of gunfire in his bed.

The Panthers would never be allowed to turn into the positive force and alternative they themselves envisioned. When one agent reported back that all they did was feed kids in their food program, Mr. Hoover reminded him that the only way to advance in the department was to gather "evidence" against their enemies...