As part of ERA’s commitment to helping licence holders make best use of the material available to them, we have decided to start highlighting our ‘top pick’ each week.
On Sunday (21st February) BBC4 will be showing Stanley Nelson’s powerful documentary charting the history of the Black Panther movement. Showing as a part of the Storyville strand, this feature length programme tells the story the party from the perspective of those who were there.
The first feature-length documentary to explore the Black Panther party, its culture and political awakening for black people. Master documentarian Stanley Nelson weaves a treasure of rare archival footage with the voices of the people who were there – police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. An essential history, it is a vibrant chronicle of this pivotal movement that birthed a new revolutionary culture in America.
Change was coming to America and the faultlines were no longer ignorable – cities were burning, Vietnam was exploding and disputes raged over equality and civil rights. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of a revolutionary culture that sought to drastically transform the system. This fascinating documentary tracks its rise and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails.
Whilst this programme would obviously of use for history students, it could also be useful to those looking at the cultural and social impact of the movement on art and literature. With the Black Lives Matter movement consistently in the news, it may be of use to provide context to students looking at the current passionate revival of the civil rights movement.