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By Herb Boyd

Illustrations By Lance Tooks

B/W Illustrations

A crowd of onlookers gawked from the sidewalk as four young black men dressed in black leather jackets and berets leaped from a Volkswagen, each of them wielding shotguns with bandoliers strapped across their bodies. The young men surrounded two white police officers who had accosted a black man and had him spread-eagled against a building.

The young men did not say a word as the police officers watched them nervously, their eyes fixed on the shotguns. One of the young men held a large law book in his hand…This was the Black Panther Party in ideal action. The real story—the whole story—was both more and less heroic.

So begins Black Panthers For Beginners. The late 1960s, when the Panthers captured the imagination of the nation’s youth, was a time of regulation. While their furious passage was marked by death, destruction and government sabotage, the Panthers left an instructive legacy for anyone who dares to challenge the system. 

Herb Boyd has done exhaustive research, examined the claims of all parties involved, and boiled the story down to “the truth.” We believe this is the most truthful book on the market, but each Panther has his/her own story to tell. We suggest that you check out the stories of all the Black Panthers. 


Herb Boyd is a journalist and teacher, and has authored and edited 22 books, including his own Civil Rights: Yesterday & Today. His book Baldwin's Harlem, a biography of James Baldwin, was a finalist for a 2009 NAACP Image Award. He and Robert Allen were recipients of An American Book Award for Brotherman—The Odyssey of Black Men in America in 1995. Many of Boyd’s books are used in classrooms all over the world. His articles can be found in such publications as The Black Scholar and The Final Call, among others. Boyd has written three documentaries, including Slap the Donkey. He teaches at the College of New Rochelle and City College New York, and is a correspondent for Free Speech


Lance Tooks’s artwork has appeared in commercials, films, and music videos. He self-published the comic books "Danger Funnies" with Cry For Dawn, among others, and contributed the Graphic Classics books, adapting the works of Edgar Allan Poe and others. He recently completed "Narcissa", a graphic novel, and a series entitled "Lucifer's Garden of Verses". He contributed to the graphic novel anthologies The Beats (Hill and Wang). Tooks lives in New York and Madrid.

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