The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland

The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland Book Reviews 1087 War on Poverty forced the cooperative mo - ve to engage in self-criticism on numerous occa - ment to regroup to stay alive. The book speaks sions but, more often than not, any critiques by as much to historiography on the New Right the rank and file were dismissed by the party’s as to studies of the black freedom movement, national leadership, particularly Ne wton. carving out a methodology that will be of great The experiences of Black Panther women, import to scholars and students alike. and their fight against sexism, permeates S- pen cer’s writing. Related to this topic is a most Laurie B. Green puzzling party decision: bringing Eldridge University of Texas at Austin Cleaver, a convicted rapist, into a leadership Austin, Texas role. Spencer addresses this dubious mistake doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax544 when she notes that “Cleaver’s uncritical em - brace by such a wide swath of movement activ - ists speaks to the consensus around patriarchy The Revolution Has Come:  Black Power, Gen- and the promotion of manhood” (p. 44). der, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland. The Revolution Has Come does have a num - By Robyn Ceanne Spencer. (Durham: Duke ber of areas that could be improved. For in - University Press, 2016. xvi, 260 pp. Cloth, stance, Spencer writes that the Black P - an $89.95. Paper, $24.95.) thers’ embrace of self-protection “was part of Robyn Ceanne Spencer’The R s evolution Has a nationwide conversation about armed self- defense” (p. 36). However, by reducing the Come is an engaging work that delves into the role of armed self-defense in African American complex black power movement. Buttressed history to “conversations” in the 1960s, she by sound research, including over twen -ty in is neglecting the incredibly rich tradition of terviews with former Black Panthers, S - pen cer’s work documents how the organizatioarmed r n esistance by black Americans thr-ough out history. developed out of a rich culture of resistance Although numerous works have been writ - in the Oakland black community to become the iconic black power group of the 1960s and ten on the Black Panther party over the past two decades, The Revolution Has Come is still 1970s. Spencer’s focus is, as the book’s title an interesting read, not necessarily because the indicates, on the Black Panther party in O - ak land, California, and she pays particul -ar at author is offering a fresh interpretation of the party but because she immediately engages tention to its gender dynamics. readers and provides a real sense of the day-to- Chapter 1 provides a thorough contextual day lives of the Black Panthers. Spencer want - analysis of Oakland’s black community and ed readers “to experience comradeship, to feel documents the lengthy history of black r - esis tance that ultimately paved the way for the the joy that came with a deep political com - mitment, and to feel the agony of betrayal by Black Panthers. Chapters 2 and 3 examine the people, ideas and the very organization they party’s commitment to armed self-defense and how large demonstrations, such as the protest were committed to” (pp. 202–3). She accom - plishes those objectives. at the California State Capitol in 1967, helped catapult the Black Panthers onto the national Andrew Witt scene. Throughout the work, and especially in Edgewood College chapter 5, the author does a splendid job of Madison, Wisconsin illustrating how the Black Panthers and their doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax545 ideology morphed and adapted over time. One of the best aspects of this work is its look at the failings of the party. For instance, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. chapter 7 chronicles how the group imploded By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. (Chicago: -Hay after 1977 because of the highly paranoid ac - market, 2016. 270 pp. Paper, $17.95.) tions of the party leader Huey Newton. The au - thor also spends a considerable amount of time This book is premised on the question of how discussing how the Black Panthers attempted and why the Black Lives Matt meor ve ment, Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/104/4/1087/4932722 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of American History Oxford University Press

The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland

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Oxford University Press
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© The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Organization of American Historians. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
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0021-8723
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1945-2314
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10.1093/jahist/jax545
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Abstract

Book Reviews 1087 War on Poverty forced the cooperative mo - ve to engage in self-criticism on numerous occa - ment to regroup to stay alive. The book speaks sions but, more often than not, any critiques by as much to historiography on the New Right the rank and file were dismissed by the party’s as to studies of the black freedom movement, national leadership, particularly Ne wton. carving out a methodology that will be of great The experiences of Black Panther women, import to scholars and students alike. and their fight against sexism, permeates S- pen cer’s writing. Related to this topic is a most Laurie B. Green puzzling party decision: bringing Eldridge University of Texas at Austin Cleaver, a convicted rapist, into a leadership Austin, Texas role. Spencer addresses this dubious mistake doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax544 when she notes that “Cleaver’s uncritical em - brace by such a wide swath of movement activ - ists speaks to the consensus around patriarchy The Revolution Has Come:  Black Power, Gen- and the promotion of manhood” (p. 44). der, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland. The Revolution Has Come does have a num - By Robyn Ceanne Spencer. (Durham: Duke ber of areas that could be improved. For in - University Press, 2016. xvi, 260 pp. Cloth, stance, Spencer writes that the Black P - an $89.95. Paper, $24.95.) thers’ embrace of self-protection “was part of Robyn Ceanne Spencer’The R s evolution Has a nationwide conversation about armed self- defense” (p. 36). However, by reducing the Come is an engaging work that delves into the role of armed self-defense in African American complex black power movement. Buttressed history to “conversations” in the 1960s, she by sound research, including over twen -ty in is neglecting the incredibly rich tradition of terviews with former Black Panthers, S - pen cer’s work documents how the organizatioarmed r n esistance by black Americans thr-ough out history. developed out of a rich culture of resistance Although numerous works have been writ - in the Oakland black community to become the iconic black power group of the 1960s and ten on the Black Panther party over the past two decades, The Revolution Has Come is still 1970s. Spencer’s focus is, as the book’s title an interesting read, not necessarily because the indicates, on the Black Panther party in O - ak land, California, and she pays particul -ar at author is offering a fresh interpretation of the party but because she immediately engages tention to its gender dynamics. readers and provides a real sense of the day-to- Chapter 1 provides a thorough contextual day lives of the Black Panthers. Spencer want - analysis of Oakland’s black community and ed readers “to experience comradeship, to feel documents the lengthy history of black r - esis tance that ultimately paved the way for the the joy that came with a deep political com - mitment, and to feel the agony of betrayal by Black Panthers. Chapters 2 and 3 examine the people, ideas and the very organization they party’s commitment to armed self-defense and how large demonstrations, such as the protest were committed to” (pp. 202–3). She accom - plishes those objectives. at the California State Capitol in 1967, helped catapult the Black Panthers onto the national Andrew Witt scene. Throughout the work, and especially in Edgewood College chapter 5, the author does a splendid job of Madison, Wisconsin illustrating how the Black Panthers and their doi: 10.1093/jahist/jax545 ideology morphed and adapted over time. One of the best aspects of this work is its look at the failings of the party. For instance, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. chapter 7 chronicles how the group imploded By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. (Chicago: -Hay after 1977 because of the highly paranoid ac - market, 2016. 270 pp. Paper, $17.95.) tions of the party leader Huey Newton. The au - thor also spends a considerable amount of time This book is premised on the question of how discussing how the Black Panthers attempted and why the Black Lives Matt meor ve ment, Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/104/4/1087/4932722 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018

Journal

The Journal of American HistoryOxford University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2018

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