Seeing Chadwick Boseman run around the silver screen as the Black Panther was a reminder that black Americans still yearn for heros that look like us. The acrobatic, action-filled performance was perfectly complimented by a storyline and script which included many of the conversations the black community have amongst ourselves. [SPOILER] The beginning of the film even pays homage to the Oakland Black Panther Party in a way that ties the fictional story into our present reality.
It is inspiring to see a fictional masked vigilante fight for black people all around the globe, however, this Black Panther story is completely fictional and is not the only positive outlet required to begin to remedy the lasting problems within the black American community.
Let’s shift our focus to the actual Black Panther Party; the black political entity founded in the 1960s by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. The founders and subsequent members of the Black Panther Party instilled fear in those who saw “Black Power” as an existential threat while emboldening an entire demographic of Americans who had been treated as second-class citizens. Check out these 10 quotes by actual Black Panthers that will have you feeling like T’Challa after his crowning ceremony:
I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.
You can tell the tree by the fruit it bears. You see it through what the organization is delivering as far as a concrete program. If the tree’s fruit sours or grows brackish, then the time has come to chop it down – bury it and walk over it and plant new seeds.
There’s nothing wrong with being a cop. There’s nothing wrong with being a white person. It’s about where your heart is…We’ve got to get everyone beyond the xenophobic isolationism.
Circulate to Educate
People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.
Walking through this life really is walking through fire.
Do you see law and order? There is nothing but disorder, and instead of law there is the illusion of security. It is an illusion because it is built on a long history of injustices: racism, criminality, and the genocide of millions. Many people say it is insane to resist the system, but actually, it is insane not to.
And why does it make you sad to see how everything hangs by such thin and whimsical threads? Because you’re a dreamer, an incredible dreamer, with a tiny spark hidden somewhere inside you which cannot die, which even you cannot kill or quench and which tortures you horribly because all the odds are against its continual burning. In the midst of the foulest decay and putrid savagery, this spark speaks to you of beauty, of human warmth and kindness, of goodness, of greatness, of heroism, of martyrdom, and it speaks to you of love.
It is a call for black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community. It is a call for black people to define their own goals, to lead their own organizations.
H. Rap Brown
Being a man is the continuing battle for one’s life. One loses a bit of manhood with every stale compromise to the authority of any power in which one does not believe.