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MacArthur Fellow tells story behind the Black Panther Party

Photo courtesy of Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch
Women drilling with Panther flag

The Black Panthers started in North Oakland in the fall of 1966. Their very visible public presence marked a change of pace during the Civil Rights movement - from giving out free breakfast to children to entering the California State Assembly with loaded rifles, shotguns and pistols.

Stanley Nelson, MacArthur “genius” Fellow, has made documentaries about the Civil Rights movement, the American Indian Movement and Jonestown.  He spoke with KALW’s Ben Trefny about his new film, “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” and what made the Black Panthers so influential. The film is currently showing around the Bay Area. 

When the police would jump out and make a stop, they would jump out behind the police...they would observe the police to make sure no brutality occurred and that was the beginning of the Black Panther party.


CrosscurrentsBlack PanthersThe Black Panther Partydocumentary filmdocumentary
Ben handles daily operations in the news department, overseeing the editorial and sound engineering teams, delivering daily newscasts, producing the nightly news and culture show Crosscurrents, and supervising special projects including KALW's Audio Academy training program.