San Francisco Public Library Announces 2017 One City One Book

For Immediate Release: July 5, 2017
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295 / Katherine.Jardine@sfpl.org

Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party
by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr.

One City One Book
 San Francisco, CA — San Francisco Public Library is excited to announce that 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 One City One Book.

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, this book cuts through the mythology and obfuscation, revealing the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement and its disastrous unraveling.

“It is a true honor that San Francisco has selected Black against Empire for One City One Book 2017,” says co-author Joshua Bloom. “When the San Francisco Bay Area gave birth to the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s, the insurgent Civil Rights Movement had largely run its course. 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. The reason why Waldo and I wrote the book was to make sense of 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. I look forward to extended conversations across the city about this history.”

“We wrote Black against Empire to provide a serious, full, and clear-eyed narrative of the Black Panther Party’s fascinating yet all too often ignored, misunderstood, and misrepresented history,” says co-author Waldo E. Martin, Jr. “The book highlights what we see as the key explanation for the party’s extraordinary historical significance: the domestic and international reach of its anti-imperial politics. We look forward to what will hopefully be an exciting and enlightening 2017 One City One Book experience.”

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.

Read Black against Empire this summer and join the Library in the fall for the 13th Annual One City One Book program extravaganza. Copies of Black against Empire will be featured in all San Francisco libraries and at bookstores around the city.

During September and October, participants can join book discussions, check out themed exhibits, attend author talks and participate in many other events. Citywide programming will take place in October.

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

 “As important as the Black Panthers were to the evolution of black power, the African American freedom struggle, and, indeed, the sixties as a whole, scholarship on the group has been surprisingly thin and all too often polemical. Certainly no definitive scholarly account of the Panthers has been produced to date, or rather had been produced to date. Bloom and Martin can now lay claim to that honor.” Doug McAdam, Stanford

“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

For more information, visit sfpl.org/onecityonebook.

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.