oakland in the black

USA. California. Oakland. 1971. Mojo mows the lawn as Black Panthers (and Mojo’s dog) stand in the yard of the Black Panther National Headquarters. 1048 Peralta Street, West Oakland.

The Black Panther Party was one of the most influential responses to racism and inequality in American history. The Panthers advocated armed self-defence to counter police brutality, and initiated a program of patrolling the police with guns and law books. Their enduring legacy is their programs, like Free Breakfast for Children, which helped to inspire a national movement of community organising for economic independence, education, nutrition, and health care. Seale believed that “no kid should be running around hungry in school,” a simple credo that lead FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to call the breakfast program, “the greatest threat to efforts by authorities to neutralise the BPP and destroy what it stands for.”

Photograph: Stephen Shames/Polaris

USA. California. Oakland. 1971. Black Panther Gloria Abernethy sells papers at the Mayfair supermarket boycott, with Tamara Lacey in the rear. Mayfair was one of the many companies that would not employ black people (here, as truck drivers). The boycott closed the store in four days. Abernethy now works for the state of California, and Tamara is a real estate agent.

Photograph: Stephen Shames, courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery

USA. California. Oakland. September 29, 1968. A Huey poster in the window of the Panther national headquarters shot up by the police following his murder trial acquittal. The Panther National headquarters at Grove and 45th Street was attacked in the middle of the night by two Oakland policemen following a not guilty verdict for Huey Newton in his first degree murder trial.

Photograph: Stephen Shames/Polaris