50 years after the height of the movement, we are celebrating the history and legacy of the Black Panther Party.

In collaboration with SFSU’s…


“Black is Honest and Beautiful.” Varda would often travel from Los Angeles to Oakland, filming Black Panther meetings and demonstrations with a borrowed 16mm camera. In 1968, she turned her camera on an Oakland demonstration against the imprisonment of activist and Black Panthers co-founder Huey P. Newton. In addition to Varda’s fascination with her adopted surroundings and her empathy, this perceptive short is also a powerful political statement.


THE NEW-ARK by Amiri Baraka

A recently re-discovered & restored film at the Harvard Film Archive, THE NEW-ARK is a creative documentary about Black Education, urban public theater, and political consciousness-raising set inside and outside of Spirit House.  Spirit House, was a Black Nationalist community center in Newark, NJ, under the leadership of poet, playwright, and Black Arts activist Amiri Baraka.  He was commissioned in 1968 by National Public Television to make this kaleidoscopic Ektachrome archive of footage from street theater, political rallies, rehearsals, discussions, dance and musical performances.  (based on a description by Chuck Jackson)

BLACK PANTHER from the California Newsreel

The Black Panthers used this film to promote their movement with close ties to the Bay Area.  Shot in 1969, in Oakland, San Francisco and Sacramento, this exemplar of 1960s activist filmmaking traces the development of the Black Panther organization. In an interview from jail, Minister of Defense Huey P. Newton, describes the origins of the Panther Party, Eldridge Cleaver explains the Panthers’ appeal to the Black community, and Chairman Bobby Seale enumerates the Panther 10-Point Program as Panthers march and demonstrate.

SAN FRANCISCO STATE: ON STRIKE from the California Newsreel

In one of the most high-profile student actions of the 1960s, students at San Francisco State University went on strike, shutting down the campus for six months. University president S.I. Hayakawa called in the police, who busted heads and arrested hundreds in an attempt to restore control of the campus. But the strike didn’t end until the school acceded to student demands and created the first ethnic studies department at an American university. This film, shot by the students and their allies, is a classic primary source document of the 1960s.

Many thanks to  The Nickelodeon, an impactful cinema in South Carolina who inspired this program. Their fantastic programming is a powerful reminder that film can spark meaningful conversations about race across the country.

Special thanks to the California Newsreel which has produced and distributed cutting-edge social issue films for activists and educators since 1968. Today it is the oldest, independent non-profit documentary center in the country and the first systematically to integrate media production and distribution with the media needs of contemporary social change movements.



BLACK PANTHERS IN '68: Upcoming Showtimes