The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

20 Feb

In partnership the African and African-American Studies Department, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and Cinema St. Louis, the Washington University Libraries will host a FREE screening of “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” which premiered last month at the Sundance Film Festival, as part of its Henry Hampton Minority Documentarian Series.

Feb. 26 at 7:00pm
Etta Eiseman Steinberg Auditorium on the Danforth Campus

The screening features an introduction and post-film Q&A with producer Laurens Grant. Her credits include “Jesse Owens,” which she both produced and directed, and “Freedom Riders” and “The Murder of Emmett Till,” which she helped produce.

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, directed by Stanley Nelson of Firelight Media, takes an in-depth look at the revolutionary culture of the 1960’s and the group that emerged from the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and early 1960’s.

In the 1960’s, ready or not, change was coming to America. A new revolutionary culture was emerging and those seeking to drastically transform the system believed radical change was not only feasible, but imminent. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change. Whether they were right or wrong, whether they were good or bad, fact is, more than 40 years after the Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland, California, the group, and its leadership, remain powerful and enduring figures in our popular imagination. THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION weaves the varied voices of those who lived this story — police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, those who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. –Firelight Media

The series is named in honor of Henry Hampton (1940-98), a St. Louis native and 1961 graduate of Washington University, where his 35,000-plus-item collection is housed in the libraries’ Film and Media Archive. Hampton’s works chronicled the 20th century’s great political and social movements, focusing on the lives of the poor and disenfranchised. The best known of Hampton’s 60-plus major film and media projects was his epic 14-part PBS series “Eyes on the Prize.” More than 25 years after its release, it is still considered the definitive work on the civil-rights movement.

The Hampton Collection contains numerous interviews and primary source material about the Black Panther Party. In the episode, Power! (1966-1968) and A Nation of Law? (1968-1971) in Eyes on the Prize II, told the story of the origins of the Black Panther Party and interviewed many party members and others connected to them, including Bobby Seale, Bobby Rush, Huey Newton, Elaine Brown, Deborah Johnson–girlfriend of Fred Hampton, Black Panther leader who was under surveillance by the FBI and killed by the Chicago police in 1969–William O’Neal, FBI informant, Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, and many others.


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