The Enduring Legacy of Portland’s Black Panther Party

In the 1960s through 1980s, the Black Panther Party rose up throughout the United States, envisioning a world without systemic racism and police violence. This is the story of Portland, Oregon’s chapter of the Party, told from original interviews, first-hand accounts, and extensive research, including police surveillance documents. This account shows a vivid picture of neighborhood activists determined to improve their community by creating their own social services, and wildly succeeding—despite the best attempts of police, city officials, and media to paint them as violent extremists, and to spy on, infiltrate, and violently suppress their activities. Portland’s Black Panther chapter innovated healthy free breakfasts for children in poverty, the longest-running Panther free health clinic, the Panthers’ first dental clinic, and a powerful system of self-directing neighborhood associations.