The Real (Reel) Black Panther. : ThyBlackMan

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Real (Reel) Black Panther.

March 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Ent., News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( The Black Panthers was the nickname of the 761st all-Black tank unit in World War Two. They were one of the best, if not the best, tank outfit in General Patton’s army. They fought in several fierce engagements and won numerous commendations including the Congressional Medal of Honor. They were the first Allied unit to break through the Siegfried Line and enter German soil. They were credited with saving the lines of thousands of US ground troops and liberating 130,000 civilians from Nazis rule.

Jackie Robinson, the first Black man to integrate major league baseball in 1947 when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, was a member of the 761st. However, he did not serve with them when they were sent overseas because of an incident on a bus during training. He refused to go to the back when ordered by the driver, and so he was brought up on charges. Though eventually cleared he was, nonetheless, transferred from the unit right before they were sent to Europe.

During Freedom Summer, 1964, in Mississippi, the Black Panther symbol was used in voter registration drives. At the time Blacks were not allowed to vote throughout much of the South. In Mississippi and Alabama the suppression of the Black vote was absolutely unyielding. Civil rights workers attempting to gain the franchise for Black citizens were arrested, beaten and even killed. For example, two Queens College students from NYC, Schwerner and Goodman and a local Mississippi man named Chaney were beaten to death that summer by local policemen and Ku Klux Klansmen.

Stokley Carmichael and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, SNCC, were deeply involved in the voter registration efforts and frequently faced police brutality and jail. At the time, the local white party used a white rooster as their emblem, and so SNCC countered with the symbol of the Black Panther. At one point in the struggle in Mississippi, Stokley Carmichael declared, “This is the twenty-seventh time I have been arrested and I ain’t going to jail no more! The only way we gonna stop them white men from whuppin’ us is to take over. What we gonna start sayin’ now is Black Power!” When he returned to the North, he began what came to be known as the Black Power movement in which Blacks began to forcefully demand their rights and fight back when attacked. This blossomed into the Black Panther movement which began on the West coast and soon spread across the country.

Around this time, Marvel Comics under the direction of Stan Lee, created the Black Panther character who first appeared in the Fantastic Four comic book series in 1966. The proactive thrust for power and equality was also symbolized in in the late 1960s Hollywood movies with fierce Black heroes like Shaft and Superfly and the many tough guy films of Jim Brown and others.

The heroes of Hollywood and comic books are seen as stars and icons and, as such, worshiped by many. The president of the United States, the most powerful person on the planet, is a real-life iconic figure. Barack Obama’s ascension to the White House was a dream come true for many, but a nightmare come to life for others. Is the current occupant of the White House now there because he is the antithesis, the anti-hero, to Obama, his nemesis? At any rate, 42 years after his genesis in the comic books, Black Panther has come to life on the silver screen.

Have the people that he represents at long last arrived, as their boundless jubilation, an echo of their joy nine years ago, seems to signify, or is this just one more stepping stone, and a fictional one at that, on their never-ending journey? If so, when will their travails finally come to an end? Perhaps when they realize that the only chains keeping them down are the feathery ones that fetter their minds.

Staff Writer; Arthur Lewin

This talented author has just published a NEW book which is entitled; AFRICA is not A COUNTRY!.

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