Saturday, February 9, 2013
Remixing the History of the Black Panther Party
In the past, when we did Black History Month celebrations and reports focusing on the Black Panther Party for Self Defense (BPP), we concentrated on their political activism and their opposition to injustice on local and international levels. We'll continue acknowledging those points about the group. Moving forward, however, we'll shift or expand our focus and give attention to the health activism of the BPP.
Thanks in large part to Alondra Nelson's Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination, we now have a clearer sense of how the BPP did much more than simply wear leather jackets and berets and face off against the police. Nelson's book uncovers and clarifies the extents to which the Party addressed poor and inadequate health care issues decades ago.
Nelson also explains how the BPP's activities actually fit within a larger history of efforts taken by groups of African Americans to address well being and medical discrimination. In our future treatments of black history, we'll be inclined to rethink or remix conventional narratives about the Black Panther Party and health care.
• Future Histories project
• URG: Notebook on Alondra Nelson's Body and Soul