Don't Tell Me What To Do: A Spiritual Memoir
Just kill me now, LORD! I'd rather be dead than alive, because nothing I predicted is going to happen. – Jonah 4:3

Black Panther - 1966-1969

This is a preview to the chapter Black Panther - 1966-1969 from the book Don't Tell Me What To Do: A Spiritual Memoir by Ron Alexander.
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The volatile times of the 60's produced a new generation of black leadership and organizations battling racism and segregation around the country. The drama swept me up. I wanted to be Black, not Negro, so I grew an Afro to identify with the movement and with the men and women at the forefront of the struggle for human and civil rights. I attended political rallies and demonstrations, pickets and sit ins. I was awed by the fiery rhetoric and speeches, very impressed by the display of courage to stand up to the man and the corrupt American government.

When the Black Panther Party broke on the scene in 1966, I was immediately captivated by the militancy. Huey Newton and Bobby Seale---armed with high-powered rifles---—challenged police brutality in Oakland, California and around the country. Their stand against police violence committed against black people was historic and monumental and unprecedented, reflecting my own experiences with law enforcement.

The black leather jacket, black beret, dark sunglasses worn by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale were the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I embraced the symbolism and political philosophy. Their radical stance and their political platform justified my Early encounters with the law. I wanted to become a Black Panther.
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