The Black Panthers’ health activism has been under-reported across the ideological spectrum. Depictions of brothers and sisters working in their neighborhoods, wearing white medical coats, was unspectacular compared to images of Black radicals wearing leather jackets and carrying guns.
It is ironic that our collective memory of the Panthers remains so incomplete because their health activism — from their political writing about medical issues in The Black Panther newspaper to their practice of DIY healthcare — exemplified the anti-racist, anti-capitalist stance for which they are known. In fact, the reality of health inequality brought the BPP’s political perspective into sharper relief because it offered stark and specific examples of how economic and racial oppression literally damaged bodies, families and communities.
Black History Month Salute! New book “Body and Soul” celebrates The Black Panther Party’s Work in Medical Self Defense! (via phatlip)