The Strange Career of Jim Crow North and West

Night Catches Us poster

Mention the Black Panther Party and images may come to mind of armed, beret-clad, African-American males, fists raised in a black power salute. This revolutionary group was an extreme offshoot of the civil rights movement that grew to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was at one time a powerful political force, often associated with radical, community-based programs and violent action.

The FBI viewed the Black Panthers as dangerous terrorists, but many of them were just ordinary people fighting for their communities, said University of Kansas English professor Ayesha Hardison, who is also professor of women, gender and sexuality studies.

Hardison, who is currently working on a literary history of the civil rights movement, visited Bowdoin recently to take part in a symposium on race issues.  She talked about the Black Panther Party as it was portrayed in the award-winning 2010 movie Night Catches Us

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