a photo of black panther leaders standing outside a building

Howard L. Bingham's Black Panthers 1968

by Howard L. Bingham

In 1968, the Black Panther organization was already two years old. Though it would be another year before FBI director J. Edgar Hoover would dub them "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country" they were already wary of mainstream media. When Life Magazine wanted to interview them, they agreed with one stipulation: Howard Bingham must be the photographer.

Bingham and journalist Gilbert Moore followed the group for months, but the story was never published, the photos never seen. Now the priceless collection of pictures is available, detailing just how hard the Panthers fought. They were literal social justice warriors, for good and for bad, years ahead of their time. All of it is documented in Bingham's photos: radiant pictures of Kathleen Cleaver, Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seal, Huey P Newton and more.

Accompanying the photos are short essays written by Howard Bingham, Gilbert Moore, Tessa Hicks, Mar Hollingsworth, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, and Bernard Kinsey. Its mere existence begs the question: How far have we as a society come since the 60's? Are the Panthers no longer around because they aren't needed, or because they were defeated? Thumb through this archive and decide for yourself.