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The authors open the book by describing a 1971 visit to China by Black Panther leader Huey Newton, who visited the country a year before President Richard Nixon’s famous trip there in 1972.

Newton was greeted in Beijing by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, who honored the Panthers as national guests. Newton’s visit is, as the authors state in a section within the introduction, “Forbidden History.”

But why?

One hint: The Black Panthers were deemed enemies of the state by the FBI, whose leader, J. Edgar Hoover, regarded the party as the “greatest threat to the internal security of the country.”

Why did the federal government consider the Panthers to be so dangerous?

One hint: The answer lies in the party’s politics, which this book will unpack.

Robert F. Williams, far left, meeting with Mao in 1964. Far right, W.E.B. DuBois meeting with Mao in 1959. 

Did you know? 

China has long had a particularly close relationship with African American liberation leaders. For instance, Black civil rights leader Robert F. Williams visited China in 1964. Williams met with Mao Zedong — the Chairman of the Communist Party of China and the leader of the People’s Republic of China. Williams is the author of Negroes with Guns and considered a forefather of the Black Power movement.

And even before Williams, the towering African American intellectual W.E.B DuBois, author of the Souls of Black Folks and one of the architects of the modern Civil Rights Movement, was a hit in China (his birthday was once a national holiday, as his biographer reminds us).

Featured image: Huey Newton meeting with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1971. 

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