With passion and precision, Kekla Magoon relays an essential account of the Black Panthers—as militant revolutionaries and as human rights advocates working to defend and protect their community. In this comprehensive, inspiring, and all-too-relevant history of the Black Panther Party, Kekla Magoon introduces readers to the Panthers’ community activism, grounded in the concept of self-defense, which taught Black Americans how to protect and support themselves in a country that treated them like second-class citizens. For too long the Panthers’ story has been a footnote to the civil rights movement rather than what it was: a revolutionary socialist movement that drew thousands of members—mostly women—and became the target of one of the most sustained repression efforts ever made by the U.S. government against its own citizens. Revolution in Our Time puts the Panthers in the proper context of Black American history, from the first arrival of enslaved people to the Black Lives Matter movement of today. Kekla Magoon’s eye-opening work invites a new generation of readers grappling with injustices in the United States to learn from the Panthers’ history and courage, inspiring them to take their own place in the ongoing fight for justice.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
“Black power!” wasn’t just a slogan in 1966. As YA novelist Kekla Magoon explores in this groundbreaking history, it was a revolutionary call to action. In the mid-20th century, Black men and women came together to challenge the centuries of systematic oppression that made up the American status quo, eventually morphing into an organized movement called the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Magoon’s rigorously researched book digs into that group’s accomplishments and the unconscionably unjust challenges it faced—which are all too often ignored in history books and pop culture. Magoon does more than give context to the images we’ve seen of beret-clad men with rifles. She details how the bulk of the party’s tireless efforts went into educating, feeding, and building Black communities. We were astounded by everything we learned about the Black Panthers’ true political ideals, and how the U.S. government still somehow justified suppressing them. Although it was written for young adults, Revolution in Our Time is required reading for anyone who wants to learn the true story behind one of America’s most notoriously misunderstood political movements.
In this powerful history, Magoon (Light It Up) presents an incisive, in-depth study of the Black Panther Party. Detailed, accessible text includes ample context around the BPP's rise and fall, starting with a history of slavery, emancipation, and segregation before diving into the civil rights and Black Power movements and ending with Black Lives Matter. While offering nuanced information about the group's self-defense stance ("capable of fighting back, but would prefer not to fight at all"), Magoon also describes the community programs that the party created for Black people, its dedication to ensuring all of its actions were legal, and the lengths to which the U.S. government and local law officials went to destroy the party. Photographs, newspaper clippings, and Black Panther art are featured throughout, providing visual breaks that inform while contributing to a pace that is digestible for young readers. Back matter includes an author's note explaining the importance of young people in creating lasting change, a timeline of the events mentioned, glossaries of key people and terms, and a list of sources and further reading. Ages 12 up. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown.