By Georgia S.

“If you dare to struggle, you dare to win.”

Fred Hampton

The Black Panther Party was one of the most influential resistance groups the United States has ever seen. Freedom! tells the Party’s story in its entirety- from its humble beginnings in Oakland, California, to its international office in the Algerian capital, and finally, its tragic demise.

I have to admit, even as a history buff, I put off reading this book because I was intimidated by it. I tend to have trouble getting through non-fiction stories. This book exceeded all of my expectations. Through quick chapters, flawless storytelling, and frequent photographs, the authors pull the reader directly into the recounts. Something I found especially engaging about Freedom! is its heavy inclusion of women who helped make the party what it became, such as Angela Davis, Ericka Huggins, and Elaine Brown. They repeatedly acknowledge that at its peak, two-thirds of Party members were women. This is something I had never heard of before, and the intersectionality described in this book is an addition that every reader can respect.

Before picking up this book, one must consider that it deals with very heavy topics. The first chapter is describing the founders of the Party, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, along with Party member “Lil’ Bobby” Hutton, getting into an armed altercation with a police officer. There are multiple instances of Black people getting arrested, tortured, and murdered for being involved in the Party. Even the FBI wanted to destroy the Party through Operation COINTELPRO. If you are someone who is able to handle these topics, I thoroughly advise you to pick up a copy. Everyone should know the bravery of these people fighting for their rights, and at some point their lives. 

The Black Panther Party was one of the most powerful social change groups to ever exist, and Freedom! describes its history in an engaging, easy-to-read manner. Overall, I rate this book five stars.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Get your copy of Freedom! The Story of the Black Panther Party by Jetta Grace Martin, Joshua Bloom, and Waldo E. Martin Jr. at BookPeople!