The FBI Infiltration of the Black Panther Party

The Most Revolutionary Act

Panther

Directed by Mario van Peebles (1995)

Film Review

Panther is a highly engrossing docudrama about the formation of the Black Panther Party in Oakland California in 1966. It differs from most other documentaries on the Panthers in its emphasis on efforts by the Oakland police and the FBI to infiltrate and smash the group almost from their inception.

Panther traces the initial decision to form the Panthers to brutal beatings neighborhood residents received from the police when they held a candlelight protest demanding a stoplight at a dangerous intersection.

Under the leadership of Huey Newton, they formed Panther Patrols to intercede and stop the Oakland police from randomly beating and shooting black men on the street. It wasn’t necessary to use the rifles they carried – which were legal until Governor Ronald Reagan change the law in 1968. It was enough to show white racist cops that their knew…

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