Southern California Black Panthers Tell Their Stories in A New Documentary
Posted: February 15, 2010
Director Gregory Everett didn't know his father growing up. But he
did know that he had been a Black Panther. Everett would sometimes
mention that when he wanted kids to back off on the playground. And they did.
In 2001 Everett reconciled with his father, and began to work in
earnest on a film about him and the other members of the Southern
California Chapter of the Black Panther Party. The result is 41st and
Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Panthers . A festival version
of the project premieres Monday, February 15th at the Pan African Fim
The Southern California branch of the Black Panther Party was founded
by Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter. Carter was a leader in the Slausons
gang and its spinoff the Slauson Renegades. Carter spent four years
in prison and became a Muslim there. He formed and headed the
Southern California chapter in early 1968. Carter and another Panther
were shot dead in early 1969 on the UCLA campus. Within a year, the
Southern California Chapter was no more.
Everett says he started thinking about the project when he met former
Panther Roland Freeman at community meeting in the early 1990s.
Freeman told him that his mother had kept a scrapbook about the
Southern California Chapter. Those materials would become the
foundation of Everett's search for the elements to bring the Panther
story to life.
Everett went on to interview a number of former Panthers, including
his own father Jeffrey Everett, about the Southern California Party's
founding and philosophy -- especially its commitment to self-defense
and weaponry. In this clip, Jeffrey Everett recalls the August 6,
1969 shoot out at Adams Boulevard and Montclair Avenue where police
killed two Panthers.
Other interviews include eyewitness accounts of the deaths at UCLA,
and the December 9, 1969 shoot out with the LAPD's new SWAT unit at
Panther headquarters at 41st Street and Central Avenue in Los
Angeles. Everett also talks to former LAPD Police Chief Bernard Parks
and members of US, a black nationalist group also prominent in LA at the time.
Everett, whose day job is as a producer for TV One, hopes a
television network will broadcast the project, perhaps as a four-part
mini-series. It's chock full of historic clips that make it costly to
broadcast, so he's still working on the funding. But he's proud that
some LAPD staffers who recently saw the piece liked it.
41st and Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Panthers screens
Monday, February 15, 2010 at 3:30 pm at the Culver Plaza Theatres,
9919 Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles. A panel discussion will
follow. For more info, www.paff.org.