Most effective documentaries allow the viewer to see beyond the headlines and sensationalized issues of the era they are covering. This film is no different. If you have questions about the history of the Black Panther Party and what this movement meant to the struggle for equality of African Americans then this film is a must see.
Director Lee allows for the viewer to become familiar with the main goals and accomplishments of the party, political landscape, and leading figures of the era thru personalized interviews with surviving members and powerful archived footage.
The importance of community-centered programs such as literacy, education, soup kitchens, and self-defense classes lay the groundwork for the coming grass-roots movements of Native Americans among others.
Lee also presents a stinging account of the reasons for the decline and fall of the citizen based movement. Questions surrounding the FBI's use of informants, infiltrators, illegal wire taps, unfounded criminal charges, and assassinations are confronted with disturbing conclusions.
As the notorious public image of militant blacks becomes etched as reality defining the Black Panther Party, it is important to have some record from the perspective of those who won't write history and sacrificed their lives for an ideal of equality and justice. This film serves that purpose. Recommended.
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