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  • Still from Black Panthers: Seize the Time

    Still from Black Panthers: Seize the Time

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The Film

<Whether they were right or wrong, whether they were good or bad, more than 40 years after the Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland, California, the group, and its leadership, remain powerful and enduring figures in our popular imagination. The era's revolutionary art, visual and musical, outlasted the party that inspired it. Chaka Khan and Chic's Nile Rodgers drew from their experience as members. Bands such as Public Enemy (whose Chuck D remembers singing "Free Huey!" as a child) pitched themselves as the Panthers' heirs. The film will weave voices from varied perspectives who lived this story — police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, those who remained loyal to the party and those who left it. Because the participants from all sides were so young in the ‘60s and 70s, they are still around to share first hand accounts. Now is the time to tell this story.

i>The Black Panthers: Seize the Time is a two-hour special — the first in the three-film America Revisited series. It’s also the first comprehensive documentary on the history of the Black Panther Party. The film sheds light on one of the most groundbreaking and compelling organizations of the 20th Century.

For the young men and women of the Black Panther Party, it was time to try a new strategy in their quest for equality — one not reliant on church support and the tenet of non-violence. Their images and language are lasting — the roaring panther, the Afro, the raised fist and slogans such as "All Power to All People." Their branding was cool and hip.

More than 40 years after the Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland, California, the group and its leadership remain powerful and enduring figures in our popular imagination.

This fast-moving film weaves voices from varied perspectives — police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, those who remained loyal to the party, and those who left it. Because the participants from all sides were so young in the 60s and 70s, they are still around to share first-hand accounts.

The Filmmaker

  1. Stanley NelsonProducer/Director