Black Panther film to premiere
Peralta.TV to broadcast film Oct. 17 and 19
Issue date: 10/16/08
The new documentary film, "Merritt College: Home of the Black
Panthers," chronicles the racial struggle that led to a social
revolution in the 1960s.
Introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee, "Panthers" documents the founding of
the Black Panther Party at Merritt College in Oakland. It is
co-produced by Jo Streit and Shelia Wells and expertly edited by Paul
Gordon of peralta.TV.
This compelling story about social justice is told through rare
interviews with party co-founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale as well
as David Hillard, Ericka Huggins and other key movement leaders. The
film uses extensive original artwork from Panther Party publications
as well as rarely seen or previously unseen vintage photos from the period.
Of special interest is Cecelia Arrington, who inaugurated the first
African-American Studies program in the country at Merritt. Arrington
delivers an impassioned story of the racial injustice during the
1960s and how she courageously responded to it. Peralta district
educators and administrators also included in this groundbreaking
film include Evelyn Wesley (Merritt College President 2001-present)
and Allen Wise (Merritt president in 2000).
The debut of "Merritt College: Home of the Black Panthers" will be at
the James Moore Theater at the Oakland Museum of California (Tenth
and Oak Streets) at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 16th. It will also be
shown on peralta.TV (cable channels 27 and 28) at 8 p.m. on Friday,
October 17 and Sunday, October 19 as well as streamed live on
peralta.TV on both these dates and times
New Black Panther Party Film To Debut
October 16, 2008
OAKLAND -- More than 40 years after two Merritt College students
founded the Black Panther Party, a new documentary is being released.
It tells the story of the late 1960's in West Oakland, which was the
birthplace of the Black Panthers.
The film is titled "Merritt College: Home of the Black Panthers". It
seeks to address the roots of the movement and the impact the party
had on social justice throughout the country.
Jeff Heyman is the documentary's creator. "One of the biggest
misconceptions was they were a Black Liberation Movement and that
they were perhaps a racist organization and they weren't. They were
about oppressed people whatever their color."
The Panthers said they wanted equality in employment, civil rights
and an end to police brutality against African Americans. Many of
them believed that the non-violent campaign of Martin Luther King,
Jr. had failed. But many others considered the Black Panthers to be a
violent militant group.
Richard Aoki was a member of the Panthers. He grew up with Panther
founders Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. "I have to admit that Huey and
I ran the streets before the birth of the party and wanted to be
gangsters." Aoki is now retired after teaching at Merritt College
The documentary features rare interviews with surviving Bay Area
Panthers and emphasizes the good the Panthers brought and their
legacy, not of violence, but of what it learned and what it left behind.
Tarida Lewis is a former member. She said, "We started a sickle cell
anemia testing program. So these mass testing programs came out of
the Black Panther Party." In addition she pointed to programs such as
lead paint testing, free health clinics and food banks.
Another former Panther, Elbert Howard said, "We were pushing for a
Black Studies program. We were into political science and learned how
government worked, what it promised and what it wasn't delivering."
Former Panthers said that Merritt College was the first college in
the country to have a Black Studies program.
The film will make its television debut on Peralta TV on Friday.
October 16, 2008