Essential Black Panther Party Books

It wasn’t until college that I had the opportunity to take a Black History class or started collecting Black Panther Party books. As a Afro-Latina living in the Bay Area, my elementary and high school history classes totally bypassed this subject. Instead, I learned about missions and Native Americans but nothing about the Black paramilitary organization that worked to provide free meals to children. In college, I had the opportunity to research this amazing organization and I kept a lot of the books I used for research! Based in Oakland, California the Black Panther Party’s core priority was its open carry armed citizens’ patrols to monitor the behavior of the Oakland police department who was known for its brutality against Black people.

The history surrounding this organization is so rich and interesting. They had a female leader at one point and were the target of a massive FBI counterintelligence investigation. They lost brilliant leaders like Fred Hampton, Huey P. Newton and George Jackson.


I encourage all readers to try books outside your comfort zone, or outside what you normally read, because you just might be surprised. Why not start with these fascinating books, set during the Black Power era? Here are twelve of the essential Black Panther Party books.

Have you heard of the Black Panthers? What would you add to this essential Black Panther Party books that everyone should read list?

Other BPP Articles

Book Review: FREEDOM! The Story of the Black Panther Party

Book Review: Power Hungry by Suzanne Cope

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