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What We Want, What We Believe: The Black Panther Party Library


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Formed in 1967, the Newsreel film collective was dedicated to chronicling and analyzing current events. In their time, they produced more than three dozen films throughout the US and abroad. By working directly with the Black Panthers, Newsreel was able to explore realities often ignored by traditional media outlets, while producing documents that the Panthers could use in organizing their own communities. The results speak for themselves and stand as true testimonials to the spirit of community self-defense and political savvy the Panthers are celebrated--and were targeted--for.

For the first time on DVD, we're proud to present three acclaimed Newsreel Films on the Black Panther Party: Off the Pig; Mayday; and Repression. Accompanying these three Newsreel films is a massive quantity of rare and exclusive materials culled from Roz Payne's extensive collection of FBI documents, correspondence, and interviews with Panthers and their supporters. It's all here, the government-sponsored repression, the trials, exile, triumph, and reunion. These materials--over 12 hours--are crucial to understanding the Black Panther Party and their legacy.

This Four-Disc Set Features:
Disc One: Three Newsreel Films, Interviews with Field Marshall Donald Cox, Footage from 35th Anniversary Reunion.
Disc Two: Interviews with Former FBI Agents, Footage from the Wheelock Academic Conference on the BPP.
Disc Three: Interviews with various movement lawyers discussing Panther cases.
Disc Four: Interviews with Newsreel members, extras from the Roz Payne Archives.

A portion of the proceeds from this project will go to support Black Panther prisoners through Books Behind Bars, the Jericho Movement, and the Human Rights Research Fund.

From the Contributor

"The invaluable Movement documentaries Newsreel produced furthered the work of the Black Panther Party and now provide the esdentail visual record of the Party's early days. This new DVD collection offers an extraordinary compilation that includes historic behind the scenes details taken from a wide range of interviews and contemporary events as well as the classic Newsreel films." --Kathleen Cleaver, Communications Secretary, Black Panther Party, 1967-1971

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Eclectic DVD Dist.
  • DVD Release Date: October 10, 2006
  • Run Time: 720 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ILYYPS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,055 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 10, 2007
What We Want, What We Believe: The Black Panther Party Library is a 4-DVD collection of over twelve hours of rare footage documenting the Black Panther movement. Contents include films taken by Newsreel film collective, interviews with Field Marshall Donald Cox, footage from the 35th Anniversary Reunion, interviews with former FBI agents, footage from the Wheelock Academic Conference on the Black Panther Party, interviews with various movement lawyers discussing Panther cases, interviews with Newsreel members, DVD-ROM documents from the Roz Payne "Archives chronicling the movement and repression against it, and more. Though unquestionably sympathetic to the Panthers' perspective, What We Want, What We Believe contains a great wealth of invaluable historic footage and is therefore especially recommended for college library DVD collections. 720 minutes, black & white and color.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. NWADIEI on February 6, 2007
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I was surprised that hippie types videotaped the Black Panthers. I was surprised that they got a lot of their funding from the middle class liberal white people.

I was surprised to know that they were trying to address the needs of all oppressed people.

It is no wonder the govertment agencies thought of them as a threat. They wanted real change.

I am sad they there is no one like them alive today. We need them now.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alfred Johnson on March 24, 2008
Readers of this space are aware of my admiration; tempered by some political criticism, of the heroic Black Panther Party, an organization that represented the highest expression of black revolutionary consciousness from the mid 1960's to the early 1970's. Thus it has been something of a treat, although mixed with a little fatigue, to review the 12 hours of cinematic documentation about the party. The footage is spread over four discs so I will therefore comment on the contents of each disc separately. Disc One includes three pieces of black and white amateurish propaganda footage of very uneven quality entitled respectively, May Day, Repression and Off the Pig (if you remember that expression that dates you, doesn't it?). The important pieces on Disc One are an extended interview with the exiled ex- Panther Central Committeeman and Field Marshall Don Cox and Kathleen Cleaver's remarks at the 35th Reunion of the party held in 2001. A word about those two parts is warranted.

The Cox interview, marred by its having been filmed while he was apparently doing chores for dinner and smoking some dope, is a fascinating anecdotal look at the rise of the Panthers in the Bay Area and the differences between the Oakland home chapter and his San Francisco chapter. And there were differences. Moreover, Cox provides some very important information about the nature of the struggle inside the party in 1970-71 on the question of `electoralism vs. armed struggle' (the Hugh Newton/EldridgeCleaver faction fights) that decisively split the party, a historic problem in the revolutionary movement going back to such organizations as the Russian Social Democracy at the turn of the 20th century and to more recent examples like the Irish Republican Army.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rico Boothman on March 1, 2012
This series represents a remarkable achievement.

Its makers have somehow managed to render the Black Panthers--the most articulate, telegenic, and perhaps best-dressed American revolutionaries of the twentieth century--utterly boring.

Admittedly, I've only seen disc 2. The other three might be wonderful. I doubt it.

One might reasonably expect some "righteous" archival footage. After all, in 1967 the Panthers marched in to the California state capital building bristling with long guns and festooned with bandoliers to protest a proposed gun control law (backed by then governor Ronald Reagan--the Cali GOP was wildly pro-control back in the day). They gave inflammatory speeches. They wore sunglasses, well-fitting black leather jackets, and berets! Huey Newton! Eldridge Cleaver!

Instead we're treated to crappy amateur video footage of a frizzy haired paralegal interviewing semi-senile former FBI special agents. And a low-angle, somewhat blurry video transcript of her presentation at a conference. AND a meeting of some kind (apparently shot in a hotel function room) attended by half a dozen obviously bored individuals.

Please avoid this four-disc abomination.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Neva on March 5, 2009
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Now would be a good time for Black Panthers Part II. Recent times have proven that all is not good for blacks and people of color in our country. This set of documentary DVD's is an essential part of black history for anywone concerned with liberation in America for the poor and those of color. Of particular interest are the interviews with movement attorneys that plowed ahead under great pressure to back off. These are the other players that represented the prosecution and disqualification of wild police forces in NYC that ran a rampant series of murders and insurrection against Panthers during this period. A must set for anyone concerned with change and what it takes in America to be really represented and not just this token democracy we have now.
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