The Revolution has Come: Black Power, Gender and the Black Panther Party in Oakland (2016)
In The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender and the Black Panther Party in Oakland historian Robyn C. Spencer traces the Black Panther Party’s organizational evolution in Oakland, California, where hundreds of young people came to political awareness and journeyed to adulthood as members. Challenging the belief that the Panthers were a projection of the leadership, Spencer draws on interviews with rank-and-file members, FBI files, and archival materials to examine the impact the organization’s internal politics and COINTELPRO’s political repression had on its evolution and dissolution. She shows how the Panthers’ members interpreted, implemented, and influenced party ideology and programs; initiated dialogues about gender politics; highlighted ambiguities in the Panthers’ armed stance; and criticized organizational priorities. Spencer also centers gender politics and the experiences of women and their contributions to the Panthers and the Black Power movement as a whole. Providing a panoramic view of the party’s organization over its sixteen-year history, The Revolution Has Come shows how the Black Panthers embodied Black Power through the party’s international activism, interracial alliances, commitment to address state violence, and desire to foster self-determination in Oakland’s black communities. Order.
“Tearing down myths and distortions on virtually every page, The Revolution Has Come is the first substantive account of the Black Panther Party’s Oakland chapter—the iconic gathering that birthed the party and held on to its very last breath. Robyn C. Spencer’s incisive attention to gender, state repression, black radical alliances, philosophical and ideological debates, and the organization’s long decline makes this one of the most original studies of the Panthers to appear in years.” -Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination.
“Using a wealth of interviews and extensive archival research, Robyn C. Spencer narrates the untold history of the Black Panther Party from the inside out. A wonderful storyteller, Spencer shines a light on both the incredible promise of the Panther programs and the overwhelming, coordinated repression of the government programs designed to destroy them. Equally revealing, she shows that the Panthers’ organizational reaction to this repression contributed to their demise. Most important, Spencer threads the voices of Panther women, showing how their critical leadership, skills, and creativity sustained the organization. Beautifully written, this brilliant and groundbreaking work is important for young activists on so many levels.”- Judy Richardson, coeditor of Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC.