About the Book

Our inaugural One Book, One Proviso selection — Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr. — was selected in order to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Maywood native son Fred Hampton.

Hampton was brutally killed in an unlawful and unjust raid conducted by law enforcement officials inside of his Chicago apartment on Dec. 4, 1969. In order to keep Fred’s legacy alive, and to highlight the structures and systems that made his assassination possible, we’ve chosen to read, discuss, enliven and engage Black Against Empire as one Proviso Township community from Aug. 30 through Dec. 4.

As a synopsis provided on the website of the book’s publisher, the University of California Press, explains, Black Against Empire “is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party. The authors analyze key political questions, such as why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the Party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the Party at its peak of influence.

“Bold, engrossing, and richly detailed, this book cuts through the mythology and obfuscation, revealing the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement and its disastrous unraveling. Informed by twelve years of meticulous archival research, as well as familiarity with most of the former Party leadership and many rank-and-file members, this book is the definitive history of one of the greatest challenges ever posed to American state power.”