It’s a striking photograph: six young black women with a spectrum of complexions, faces paused in mid-exclamation, fists raised in simultaneous solidarity at a Black Panther rally. Even their afros are emphatic and resolute as they stand in tandem in Oakland’s DeFremery Park, then and now a popular gathering place for the community’s African-Americans. There, a grove of trees honors Bobby Hutton who, at just 16, had been the Panthers’ first enlisted member and at 17, died after police shot him—purportedly, as he tried to surrender. Continue reading The Women of the Black Panther Party and Their Powerful Influence
The storyline sounds innocuous. A young, well-dressed widow is raising an adorable 5-year-old son in a nice apartment while working as a nurse. However, using that middle-class premise for the first comedy to showcase a black family in 1968 turned “Julia” into a battlefield in the still-ongoing war about how African-Americans are represented on TV today. Squarely situated at an intersection between popular culture and racial politics, “Julia” became a beachhead for critics who insisted that television should not sacrifice African-American authenticity to win viewers. Continue reading Was the 1968 TV Show “Julia” a Milestone or a Millstone for Diversity?