Category: Black Panther Party

  • Soul and the City

    In the late 1960s and early 1970s, soul began to address the social and economic problems that faced Black Americans in the (mostly Northern) cities. The textual emphasis on this new wave of soul moved away from the genre’s earlier optimism, instead highlighting dystopian urban visions. This iteration of soul was, in a sense, a […]

  • The Happy Heaven of Harlem

    Many artists moved to Harlem, where they were free to cultivate the inner life. Langston Hughes, the most famous poet of the Harlem Renaissance, reading his poem “I, Too”: The Harlem Renaissance was the artistic flowering of the Great Migration. As Duke Ellington wrote in “Drop Me Off in Harlem”: I don’t want your Dixie,You […]

  • Some Motor City History

    Blind Blake (1896-1938) recorded “Detroit Bound Blues” for Paramount in 1928. It’s a kind of miniature record of at least some of the impetus behind the Great Migration. I’m goin’ to Detroit, get myself a good jobI’m goin’ to Detroit, get myself a good jobTried to stay around here with the starvation mob I’m goin’ […]

  • Stagolee Shot Billy

    Content warning: explicit language, racial slurs (including the n-word) in original sources. Bobby Seale, the co-founder of the Black Panther Party, dedicated his 1968 book Seize the Time, to his wife, Artie, and his son, Malik Nkrumah Stagolee Seale. Malik’s third name, as Seale explains it, derives from the lumpen proletarian politically unaware brothers in […]

  • From Revolution to Rap

    By 1966, the Civil Rights Movement, defined by peaceful protests such as the 1960 Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins, the 1961 Freedom Rides, and the 1965 marches led by Martin Luther King, Jr. from Selma to Montgomery to register voters, was in decline. The Students Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which had been formed in 1960 as […]