Portland's Black Panthers

Portland's Black Panthers

by Sarah Mirk and Khris Soden

An epic, motivating, and powerful tale of growing up black in Portland's then-suburb of Albina in the 1960s. Told in stunning comic book format and illustrated by Kris Soden, Portland Mercury journalist Sarah Mirk details the police harassment of the people who later became Portland's Black Panther chapter. Because of a racist city hall and police force, African Americans became increasingly radicalized and started organizing privately. But the problems ran deep and with one explosive situation after another, the situation came to a head in the late '60s. The individuals organized into an official Panther chapter and responded with their classic free breakfast program, serving better food than the schools and offering free medical and dental clinics that eventually were adopted by the state and became Oregon Health Plan. But the Panther organization itself was spied upon, infiltrated, and slowly ripped apart by the state apparatus. And this is their story.