Active from 1966 to 1982, the Black Panther Party was a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist Black liberation organization founded by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton in Oakland, California. While one of its early core practices was deploying armed citizens’ patrols to monitor the city’s police department and challenge instances of brutality, it soon expanded its scope (and opened chapters in many major U.S. cities) to address a variety of class struggles and community needs.

From 1969 on, the BPP launched several social programs aimed at educating and organizing the disenfranchised. This included expanding voter registation, addressing food injustice with their Free Breakfast for School Children programs, and opening community health clinics to test people for sickle cell anemia, TB and, later, HIV and AIDS across the nation.

While the Party was formally dissolved four decades ago, its basic tenets of Black liberation, anti-capitalism, and community care have never felt more relevant. In a 1968 book list shared by the University of Puget Sound’s Collins Library (and originally posted by It’s About Time, a now-dormant site dedicated to the BPP’s legacy and alumni), the Party recommended various tomes on the history of slavery, colonialism, and African struggles for political freedom – books that provide a context to the deep-seated racial justice issues that continue to rage on today.

From Frantz Fanon to W.E.B. Du Bois, delve into the Black Panther Party’s recommended reading list below. Complement with the radical book recommendations of Angela Davis, Colin Kaepernick, Howard Zinn, Malcolm X and Rage Against the Machine.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley (also rec’d by Angie ThomasColin KaepernickGabrielle UnionHoward ZinnIbram X. KendiJanelle Monáe, Kareem Abdul-JabbarRose McGowanTupac Shakur, Uzo Aduba & Questlove)

The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon (also rec’d by Colin Kaepernick, Nipsey Hussle, Noname & RATM)

I Speak of Freedom by Kwame Nkrumah

The Lost Cities of Africa by Basil Davidson

The Nat Turner Slave Revolt by Herbert Aptheker

American Negro Slave Revolts by Herbert Aptheker (also rec’d by Angela Davis)

A Documentary History of the Negro People of the United States by Herbert Aptheker (also rec’d by Howard Zinn)

Before the Mayflower by Lerone Bennett Jr.

American Negro Poetry by Arna W. Bontemps

Story of the Negro by Arna W. Bontemps

Black Moses: The Story of Garvey and the UNIA by E.D. Cronin

Black Reconstruction in America by W.E.B. Du Bois

Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois (also rec’d by Malcolm X)

The World and Africa by W.E.B. Du Bois

Black Mother: The Years of the African Slave Trade by Basil Davidson

Studies in a Dying Colonialism by Frantz Fanon

From Slavery to Freedom by John Hope Franklin (also rec’d by Howard Zinn)

Black Bourgeoisie by E.F. Frazier

The Other America by Michael Harrington

Garvey & Garveyism by Marcus Garvey

Philosophy And Opinions Of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey

The Myth of the Negro Past by Melville J. Herskovits

A History of Negro Revolt by C.L.R. James

MUNTU: The New African Culture by Janheinz Jahn

Blues People by LeRoi Jones

Black Muslims in America by C.E. Lincoln

Malcolm X Speaks by Malcolm X (also rec’d by RATM)

The Colonizer and the Colonized by Albert Memmi

Ghana by Kwame Nkrumah

We Charge Genocide by William L. Patterson

Africa’s Gift to AmericaWorld’s Great Men of Color: 3,000 B.C. to 1946 A.D. by J.A. Rogers

The Negro in Our History by Charles H. Wesley & Carter G. Woodson

The Strange Career of Jim Crow by C. Vann Woodward

Native Son by Richard Wright (also rec’d by Alice Walker & Kamala Harris)

(via The Collins Library)

Categories: Activists