For Immediate Release: September 11, 2017
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295 / Katherine.Jardine@sfpl.org
Read. Resist. Repeat. One City One Book Takes on San Francisco
Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party
by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr.
San Francisco, CA —Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr. has been selected as the 2017 One City One Book, and this fall’s events are filled with engaging, thought provoking and carefully curated programs designed to shed light on a crucial historical operation and impart important lessons for today’s resistance movements.
Black against Empire is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party. Bloom and Martin analyze key political questions, such as why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the party at its peak of influence. Bold, engrossing, and richly detailed, the book cuts through the mythology and obfuscation, revealing the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement and its disastrous unraveling.
Black against Empire, published by the University of California Press, is the winner of the American Book Award. The book has been banned by the CA Department of Corrections and CA inmates are currently forbidden to possess or read it. Copies of Black against Empire are featured in all San Francisco libraries and at bookstores around the city. The One City One Book program guide features numerous events, book discussion questions and comparisons between the Black Panther Party and Black Lives Matter.
This September and October, participants can join book discussions, check out themed exhibits, attend author talks and participate in many other events.
Co-author Waldo E. Martin will be featured at Litquake in conversation with D. Scot Miller at the American Bookbinders Museum on Oct. 10, and both authors will take the stage in the culminating One City One Book author talk taking place at the Main Library on Oct. 29. Independent radio and Hip Hip journalist, “Davey D.” Cook will facilitate this conversation with the authors.
“Black people in cities throughout the North and West were yearning for ways to stand up to police brutality and persistent racism. For several years, the Black Panther Party set the standard,” says co-author Bloom. “Waldo and I wrote the book to make sense of the how and why. Those questions are as vital now as they were in the late 1960s – as a new generation of activists seeks to challenge racism, authoritarianism, and many forms of oppression.”
On Oct. 10 and 25, partake in an experience that brings San Francisco revolution and resistance history to your fingertips in a close-up show-and-tell of original manuscripts, newspapers and photographs which document the Black Panther Party and San Francisco’s legacy of resistance. Collections on view include the Black Panther newspaper and selections from the San Francisco Ephemera Collection including protest fliers and photographs from the 1960s – 1970s documenting resistance.
Eight films will be screened, including the insightful documentary, The Defender, focusing on San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi as he and his team take on the high-profile case of 22-year-old Michael Smith, after he is charged with nine counts of resisting arrest. Adachi asserts that his client’s odyssey in the criminal justice system is evidence of black-crime bias in ostensibly liberal San Francisco. A Q&A session with the Adachi follows the film screening.
Exhibits include work by Emory Douglas, the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, who created some of the most iconic images of Black Power. Douglas will be in conversation with other artists on Oct. 11 to discuss the intersection of art and activism. The library’s Art and Activism exhibit, which opens in October, will also showcase the work of Melanie Cervantes and Faviana Rodriguiz, demonstrating a continuum in the use of protest art that centers race, immigration, globalization, gender equality and environmental justice.
Black against Empire Editorial Reviews
“This is the definitive history of one of the great revolutionary organizations in the history of this country…. Let us learn deep democratic lessons and strong anti-imperial conclusions from this magisterial book!” — Cornel West, Princeton
“This is the book we’ve all been waiting for: the first complete history of the Black Panther Party, devoid of the hype, the nonsense, the one-dimensional heroes and villains, the myths, or the tunnel vision that has limited scholarly and popular treatments across the ideological spectrum. “– Robin D. G. Kelley, UCLA
“Finally! A book that clarifies the history of our movement, our aspirations, our struggles, and the bitter challenges we faced. This is a profoundly important and revealing work. Everyone who lived through these events, anyone who wants to understand the Black Panther Party, and especially the younger generations striving to shape the future, must read this book!”
–Bobby Seale, Chairman, Black Panther Party
About One City One Book
One City One Book: San Francisco Reads is an annual citywide literary event that encourages members of the San Francisco community to read the same book at the same time and then discuss it in book groups and at events throughout the City. By building bridges between communities and generations through the reading and most importantly the discussion of – one book, we hope to help to make reading a lifelong pursuit and to build a more literate society. Sponsors for One City One Book include the San Francisco Public Library and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. The program is also supported by many bookstore partners, program partners and media sponsors.
View the complete One City One Book program guide here and visit sfpl.org/onecityonebook for more information.
One City One Book & Litquake – Oct. 10, 7 p.m., American Bookbinders Museum, 355 Clementina St.
One City One Book Authors in Conversation – Oct. 29, 1 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium. Book sale and signing to follow.
Emory Douglas: Art and Activism panel discussion – Oct. 11, 1 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium
Art and Activism exhibition –Main Library, 4th floor rotunda and Grove St. exhibit space
Free Breakfast / Free Lives: 50 Years of Social Activism in the Black Community – Sept. 28, 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium
The Defender: Film Screening and Talk Back with Jeff Adachi and the Press – Oct. 21, 1 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium
Blacks, Blues, Black! Film Screening with San Francisco History Center – Oct. 4, 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium
Hands-On History – Oct. 10 & 24 (2 sessions), 6 p.m., Main Library, SF History Center
Bicycle Tour – Oct. 7, 1 p.m., DeFremery Park, 1651 Adeline St., Oakland
Sept. 11, 4 p.m., Western Addition Branch
Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m., Mission Bay Branch
Oct. 14, 10:30 a.m., Main Library, Library for the Blind & Print Disabled
Thursday at Noon Film Series
Main Library, Koret Auditorium
Free Angela and All Political Prisoners – Oct. 12, 12 p.m.
Get Out – Oct. 19, 12 p.m.
Negros with Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power – Oct. 26, 12 p.m.
Revolution 67 – Nov. 2, 12 p.m.
Black Press: Soldiers without Swords – Nov. 9, 12 p.m.
Good Hair – Nov. 16, 12 p.m.
View the program guide for more information.