Film Preview, Panel To Cover History Of San Diego's Black Panther Party
This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. The Black Panther party of the 1960s was well known in Oakland, LA, Chicago. Many may be surprised to discover that San Diego had an active black panther chapter. That is told in the documentary, "American Patriots: The San Diego Black Panther Story" . There will be a preview of the film screening this afternoon at SDSU to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Black Panthers. Joining me is Cheryl Morrow director. True no price is here -- true no parse -- welcome to the program. The title of the film is "American Patriots: The San Diego Black Panther Story", how did you decide on that ? To me, the epitome of an American patriot was someone who as Trunell says takes a bad situation and makes the best of it. Changing yourself first and then changing the environment. No one has earned that more than the Black Panther. Trunell, how much presence did the Black Panthers have? I know they had a huge presence, members of the community feeling they were part of society as a whole and they wanted to feel a part of San Diego. When the Black Panthers came out, they felt they had opportunity to stand up for equal treatment to stand up against police brutality. It had a huge impact. There was a lot of identity to feel that they were important, they were valuable. The black panther party played a pivotal role in that. I think there was a feeling that there was a war between the Panthers and the police, in the 60s. Do you think that was a misunderstanding? That was a misunderstanding. To make a complex answer simple, the Black Panther party through law enforcement at the highest levels presented a threat to what they considered the natural order. The Black Panther party was considered a threat, they were trying to politically educate people in the black community. We had a lot of supporters, that were not black. They provided us with resources and assistance in trying to spread the message that the Constitution pertains to all citizens and that members of the black community should not be afraid. That went in the face of the natural order of things, people who didn't believe that and it was considered a threat because we were organized and educated. We were providing meals and other things in the black community to show that you need to stand up for your rights. That was considered a threat by J Edgar Hoover. I was surprised to read, it seems like the greatest silence in San Diego was between two groups of African-American activists, the Panthers and a group called US. Do you think that rivalry overshadowed the message? In any social evolution, there are disagreements as to the direction. Unfortunately, for our era there were elements that were not true to the cause and they were influenced by money and prestige and political opportunity. We were targets, not just from law enforcement but also from provocateurs that aligned themselves with other organizations. This is a fitting time for this documentary to tell the story of the Black Panthers, so much of the respect and equality under the law that they were fighting for is still being fought for, by the black lives matter movement and others. How would you compare the Panthers and black lives matter? I think the Black Panthers, the time period had more to draw from. Bobby seal and Huey Newton and the other brothers were not so much reactionary and frustrated as they were more problem solvers. There were less problems to solve. They understood they were just causes, not symptoms. Black lives matter are frustrated and emotional. They are a lot more symptom oriented. One thing, the questions in the film because I directed it to be tutorial. I wanted it to be instructional. This won't entertain UN sensitize you. When it's over, you don't know where to put it. This is very instructional, one of the questions I asked Trunell was, what would you do know -- now. The answer is very full and with past, present and back to the future-what information would you use no in strategizing and analyzing making sure you are dealing with causes not symptoms. That is the difference between American patriot and other films. The preview of "American Patriots: The San Diego Black Panther Story" will be shown this afternoon at 3:00 at the Conrad Prebys theater at San Diego State University. When do you think the film will come out? We are having another preview at skyline library November 1 and the release is set for February 1, black history month. I've been speaking with Cheryl Morrow and former Black Panther member Trunell Price.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party, a film preview and panel about the San Diego chapter of the Black Panther Party will be held Monday.
The preview of "American Patriots: The San Diego Black Panther Story" and panel discussion is Monday at 3 p.m. at the San Diego State University Conrad Prebys theater.
The full film will be released in February.
On Monday's Midday Edition, we speak to the filmmaker, Cheryl Morrow, and a former member of the San Diego chapter of the Black Panther Party who will be on Monday's panel, Trunell Price, about the film and the history of the Black Panther Party in San Diego.