Parents' Guide to

Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party's Promise to the People

By Kyle Jackson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Informative, inspiring history of the Black Power movement.

Book Kekla Magoon History 2021
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Equal parts compelling and comprehensive, this book is a welcome and much-needed educational resource for teachers and students who want to expand their understanding of Black history. In addition to providing a solid introduction to the pivotal moments and larger themes of the Black freedom struggle, Revolution in Our Time draws particular attention to the radicalism of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the reactionary forces that lined up to destroy it. Author Kekla Magoon offers helpful profiles of many of the leading edge figures within the movement, including Huey P. Newton, Fred Hampton, Eldridge Cleaver, and Elaine Brown, as well as non-Panther allies like Angela Davis and Assata Shakur. For those unfamiliar with the period, there is a useful glossary and timeline in the appendices. Magoon also includes an extensive bibliography to encourage further reading. As a starting point or as a supplement to existing Black history curricula, the book is sure to be an incredibly useful resource.

Stylistically, Magoon's skill as a storyteller is matched by her commitment to underscoring the idealism of the Panthers and the Black Power movement. Readers will walk away inspired by the incredible organizing and immense sacrifices made by the Panthers in order to challenge the powers that be in an unjust society. By bridging the stories of the civil rights movement and the Black Power politics of the 1960s to flashpoint moments of contemporary activism, Magoon also offers a call-to-arms for young people to be active, get organized, and raise the banner of revolution that was first hoisted by the BPP. As she writes in a later chapter, "the story of the Panthers is not only an oft-overlooked chapter of history, but a potent reminder that there is still significant work to be done. The civil rights movement that we often call 'past' remains very much part of the present. What does the future hold?" While the painful saga of the Black Panther Party provokes many difficult questions, it's clear that learning about their history is an important place to start for any modern movement for radical social change. Magoon's book is a fantastic jumping off point for students, activists, and teachers alike.

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