A Former Black Panther Salutes the Movement

Timothy Thompson among those at a press preview held Friday at the Oakland Museum of California.

Timothy Thompson, who joined the Black Panther Party in 1970, is among those showcased on the front page of today’s San Francisco Chronicle. That’s him, below at the top, right, recreating the famous clenched-fist salute.

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The Oakland Museum of California will mark the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers this fall with a special exhibit titled “All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50.” A press conference was held at the museum Friday to publicize those Oct. 8-Feb. 27 plans.

Thompson is also featured in coverage of the press preview event by Bay Area ABC-TV affiliate KGO. Although whoever transcribed Wayne Freedman’s report for the TV station’s website is guilty of a Sigmund-to-the-Freud slip (we’ve crossed out the mistakes and added, in brackets, the correct words):

“The news media had jumped us up to be a bunch of gun-toting thugs [brothers] when that was not what we were about. We were about [our] love for our people and making our people [community] better,” former Black Panther Timothy Thompson said.

The Panthers movement was started in Oakland in 1966. But exactly when will be a topic of debate this fall in October, which Friday Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf declared will be “Black Panther History Month.” For example, KPIX Channel 5 reporter Da Lin states that the Black Panther Party was founded Oct. 15, the generally agreed upon date. But for the Chronicle piece, Sam Whiting spoke to movement co-founder Bobby Seale:

The one person who does not agree on that date is Seale, who was reached by phone Friday, as his plane landed after a speech at the University of Oregon. Seale said the founding date was Oct. 22, 1966, which was his 30th birthday and the day he and the late Huey Newton finished the “10 Point Platform and Program” for the Black Panther Party for Self Defense (as it was originally called).

Seale will be hosting a 50th anniversary celebration in the Bay Area Oct. 21-23 in partnership with the National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party. The portraits of ex-Panther members on the front page of the Chronicle were taken by Oakland-based freelance photographer Michael Short.

Image via: sfgate.com