Home News The women of the Black panther – Maysa Moroni (Photo)

The women of the Black panther – Maysa Moroni (Photo)

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The women of the Black panther – Maysa Moroni (Photo)

and What we want, what we believe platform and program of the Black panther party, 1966

slogan del Black panther party

The Black Panther Party was founded in 1966 in Oakland, California, by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, to defend and support the African American community which lacked everything: home, food, health care, work and the right school opportunities. Added to this were the daily abuses by the police.

Stephen Shames is twenty years old in 1968 and a novice photographer when he meets Bobby Seale, to whom he shows some of his photos of the Bpp’s activities. Seale decides to publish them in the party newspaper and Shames thus becomes their official photographer for seven years.

He documents marches, meetings, moments of relaxation, popular school classrooms, solidarity campaigns and everything he manages to capture with his camera.

In the introduction to her third photographic book dedicated to the women of the Bpp Comrade sisters. Women of the Black panther party, co-edited with former panther Ericka Huggins, tells how for him the stories of these women are linked to the story of his mother. And to that of many others who, like her, in those years found the courage and strength to fight for their own rights and for those of oppressed communities in the United States and in the rest of the world thanks to the example of the women of the party.

“Freedom is much more than a list of rights on paper,” writes Angela Davis in the preface to Comrade sisters. Indeed, how can one fight for one’s rights on an empty stomach?

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The BPP distributes free breakfast for children before going to school, builds a health care network, self-defense courses and organizes popular schools to ensure a dignified life for African American communities. “There has been a tendency to forget that the organizing work that made the BPP so important was largely carried out by women,” Davis continues; we know the Black panthers mainly for the events related to their male leaders but in reality seven out of ten were women.

We find them in the photographs of Shames and in the incredible first-person testimonies that accompany them. They were students, workers, artists full of love for their people. “If the government doesn’t take care of its people, we will. We will serve the people body and soul.”

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