Panther Baby: A Life of Rebellion & Reinvention. Review by: Philisa Stanford. University of Texas at Arlington. Philisa@tnalite.com.au Psychologists have long.
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- Books + Music
- Panther Baby: A Life of Rebellion and Reinvention by Jamal Joseph
- The Inner Life of Rebellion
Panther Baby is a strong testament to the human spirit and one man's determination to make a difference and adhere to his own vision. A page turner about a very impressive person. Real interesting story of the destruction of the Black Panther party and the lives of many of it's members by an all consuming assault from all facets of government. Solid 4 stars and will now search out more of this story!!
Mar 16, Angie rated it really liked it. A nice surprise for all us children of the 90s with a little tupac cameo. Even without that the book is amazing. A very approachable insight to a topic I wish I knew a lot more about. Plus it reenforces my plans to bring art to inner city kids.
Feb 13, Crystal Belle marked it as to-read. Cannot wait to read this! Afeni Shakur will be there too! Sep 09, Peter Pinkney rated it it was amazing. This is a brilliant an inspirational book. Like the Vietnam War, they never seemed to be off the news. I can remember when the two black athletes gave the Black Power salute at the Mexico olympics. I can remember the commentators screaming about disrespecting the olympics. Bit rich that, is respecting that bloated den of corruption??!! The commentators seemed to forget how much Americans had disrespected African Amer This is a brilliant an inspirational book.
The commentators seemed to forget how much Americans had disrespected African Americans. A few weeks ago I watched a documentary about the Panthers, and Jamal was on there, he joined at the age of fifteen. The Panthers did a lot for their people, and people of other so called "races". They were a socialist movement, and helped the poor and helpless. A fine example was giving breakfasts to children who wouldn't otherwise have got them.
Two things stand out When he first joins, a senior member tells him that he is going to arm him. Jamal expects to be given guns, but is given books. He says I thought you were going to arm me? The senior member replies, "I just did No Mr Hoover, in my opinion, you were Feb 14, Romelle Berry rated it really liked it. I really enjoyed this book. Having grown up in the 60's and 70's, I heard about the Black Panthers but feel I never really understood the what their goal was. This book helped me to understand the movement and the story of his life in the Black Panthers was fascinating.
I'm so impressed that despite all the violence, his time in prison and mistreatment by the police that he completed his college degree and continued to be dedicated to helping out his community. There is so much more to this stor I really enjoyed this book. There is so much more to this story and I highly recommend this book. I would like to have heard more about the after prison time - Noonie, his wife and kids, any conflicting feelings now about their path v his own, contact with his biological family was not addressed to deeply but I would think devastating to be rejected by them.
This book was fascinating. It's an autobiography of an orphan who joins the Black Panther party. I learned so much about the climate of NYC and the country during the turbulent late '60's. The author's journey through the Panthers to his current life was very moving. It is a very fast read. I highly recommend this book. Jun 17, Rebecca rated it really liked it. I saw the author speak at a presentation about mass incarceration at the Hartford Public Library and was very interested to learn more about his life. Well, what did I think?
Reason being, I just didn't enjoy it any longer. It started off exciting I think - see! I found it hard to keep my attention. I purchased the book because a: I remember hearing about them Black Panthers as a child but not understanding who or what they stood for.
The old videos I remember Well, what did I think? The hardcover's flap info had me wanting to read it even more plus I had a boss who said he knew some people from the Panthers when he lived in NY. Alas, the book couldn't keep that passion going. All I wanted to do was " I just can't quite put my proverbial "finger on" where the problem lies. Was it the writing? Hard to follow because, at times, I didn't know where the timeline came in. No notice I think. Could it be I felt as though Mr. Joseph was "name dropping" which I hate?
Then again, I guess he had to to show support from others and the Black Panthers who have become successes in their own right. I found a couple of discrepancies in the story which turned me off as well. He said his wife was the 1st Black model for "Seventeen" magazine but I checked it out to see what she looked like and it was noted another not Whitney Houston was actually the 1st. This could have been an editing mistake though.
Then he said that Tupac Shakur was his God-son. Again I checked for information about his hospitalization after being shot, and Wikipedia credited another gentleman as his God-father. Now, I don't look at Wikipedia as being "gospel" because I've come across many false reports on that site so please! I don't want to give this book a bad rep, because I found a lot of good-reading in it. It just couldn't hold my interest where I should have completed reading it in 1 day it's just that short: The language I didn't care for but that's any book I've read that results in the removal of a star for that reason.
Why so much cursing? I grow weary of replacing the words with a clean one or skipping over it. Cursing just takes away the beauty of writing for me, in my opinion. Anywho, I suggest reading the book. I'm going to give this book another chance. I'll re-read it again at a later date. If I come across the same problem, then it's the book entirely and I have no ill-hand in the outcome. For now, I'll rate the book 3 stars out of 5, again only because of the language which robbed it of 1 star.
I hope I wasn't too hard on the book. I apologize to you, Mr. Joseph, if you've read this.
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I had to be honest. Oct 19, Lindsay rated it it was amazing Shelves: It's been Black Panther literature in recent years to draw me out of my malaise of disenchantment to rekindle the idealism I used to possess over social issues. I suspect this largely has to do with my near complete ignorance of the Black Panther movement: I don't know whether more efforts are being made lately in K education about the movement, but I sincerely hope this gets into teenagers' hands as it holds excellent crossover appeal that will absolutely appeal to a young person's activist concern for social change.
Jamal Joseph's memoir is a straightforward, heartfelt account of his transformative years as a teenager getting involved in the NY Panther chapter and how the revolutionary motives influenced his life, good and ill, long after the party dissolved. Though I found a few inconsistencies in terms of the relation of events and some figures who just seemed to disappear Noonie, primarily--the last we hear of her occurs just after he's released from his initial imprisonment , I appreciated his candor in revealing the less altruistic motivations along with his noble fights, and for all the good that he's done, he is surely proud of his work but not boastful.
To say he is a do-gooder is a gross understatement. I never got the feeling that he was ever stopping to self-congratulate and say, "Hey, look at me and how good I am" as I've seen so many others do. Clearly, the fire lit in him during the 60s never went out even though sometimes it dimmed , and his concern is to constantly move forward and to exact as much change as possible, which overwhelmed me.
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His ideals influenced an incredible strength in mature and compassionate conflict resolution effectively used on the streets as well as in prison and enabled him to think creatively in how to direct the energy of his community. His accomplishments humble me and challenge me to examine my own life to see how I can make my world a better place. Feb 04, Byron rated it liked it. Author Joseph was the youngest of the 21 Black Panthers rounded up on charges of conspiring to blow up buildings and historical monuments in NY back in the early '70s.
You'll recall that 2Pac's mother was also nabbed in this sting, while she was pregnant with 2Pac, who was almost born in the pokey. There was a music video about it back in like ' Panther Baby is the story of how he went from being a regular black kid in the hood in the late '60s, living with his grandma, to being caught up with Author Joseph was the youngest of the 21 Black Panthers rounded up on charges of conspiring to blow up buildings and historical monuments in NY back in the early '70s. Panther Baby is the story of how he went from being a regular black kid in the hood in the late '60s, living with his grandma, to being caught up with the Black Panthers back when they were really about something: It's told almost like a Hollywood film, with a ready-to-be-adapted-into-a-screenplay three act structure, and lots of emphasis on parts that would play well onscreen, including a confrontation with a sort of father figure in the Panthers who turned out to be not who he seemed to be, a few hairy run-ins with law enforcement, and of course the fucking on mattresses in communal flop houses.
I found this to be silly and unnecessary, if not a full-on dealbreaker.
I'm actually more concerned with the aspects of the story that seem to be left out or glossed over. Obviously it would be hard for me to say, having not been born until decades after the fact, but this certainly feels like a whitewash. There's even a fairly important figure in his life who's not mentioned here.
Panther Baby: A Life of Rebellion and Reinvention by Jamal Joseph
Mar 03, Sarah rated it really liked it Shelves: I really enjoyed this book - I flew through it in one afternoon and the story flows easily. Joseph's narrative of his childhood, woven together with the greater history of the s makes it easy to understand his anger and ultimate motivations for joining the Black Panther party. What I most appreciated, since this book is for younger audiences, is how Joseph highlights the missions of service of the Black Panther party. I think there is a great misinterpretation of what the goals and ideals of I really enjoyed this book - I flew through it in one afternoon and the story flows easily.
I think there is a great misinterpretation of what the goals and ideals of the Black Panther movement in the s were - and Joseph's story brings light to their other, non-violent efforts that, in my experience, are not part of the public consciousness when thinking about the Black Panthers. There was violence - but there were positive, community enhancing works as well. I'm impressed that Joseph was so motivated to activism at a young age, as well as his ability to adapt and flourish despite the many bumps in the road - following his year at Rikers, then going to Leavenworth, and then his rise at Columbia - though trite, his life is the personification of taking lemons and making lemonade.
I'd recommend this book, keeping in mind that it is a memoir. I received a complimentary copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. Apr 03, Melissa rated it really liked it Shelves: Jamal Joseph was in his teens when he joined the Black Panthers. At 16 he went to jail as one of the "Panther 21" in 21 members of the Black Panther Party were rounded up and imprisoned. Jamal is a gifted story teller and honest about his teenage views of the Panthers and life in jail.
He admits to dreaming of Panthers dressed in ninja-like pajamas breaking into jail and busting him out. What I liked best about this books was that, although the FBI saw Jamal as a threat to national security and sent him to Leavenworth, I never pictured him as a criminal. He used his time in jail to earn 2 degrees, to lobby for equal rights among prisoners, to write and direct plays with other inmates as his actors. None of this sounds to me like the actions of a hardened criminal. The world in which he lived — Harlem in the s could have made him hard.
The treatment he received by the police and in jail could have made him hard. I never saw him as hard, I just saw a kid then a man trying to do the best for himself and his community. Mar 05, Jeffrey rated it really liked it Shelves: I received this book for free in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway Jamal Joseph 's life has been a struggle, from beginning in broken home to joining the Black Panthers at an astoundingly young age, to multiple stints in prison, to becoming a leader in the New York arts community.
His memoir at an efficient, but effective, pages begins a bit slowly but rises throughout to a rousing conclusion. Through this autobiography, readers unfamiliarwith or misinformed about the history of the Black Panthe I received this book for free in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway Jamal Joseph 's life has been a struggle, from beginning in broken home to joining the Black Panthers at an astoundingly young age, to multiple stints in prison, to becoming a leader in the New York arts community.
Through this autobiography, readers unfamiliarwith or misinformed about the history of the Black Panthers will gain a broader perspective of the movement's motivations and goals. Furthermore the reader is exposed to the story of a young boy who grew up in truly remarkable circumstances. Well worth reading for students of the civil rights movement or of progressive causes and youth advocacy in general. May 22, Angela rated it really liked it Shelves: Jamal Joseph is a well-spoken revolutionary who came up through the Black Panther party and continues to work for social justice, especially regarding African-Americans and inner-city youth.
This memoir is an enlightening overview of the Harlem contingency of the movement and Jamal's experience with the police, our legal system and incarceration. For someone my age who is not well-versed in this movement, this was engaging and informative, especially regarding the motivations of such names as Hu Jamal Joseph is a well-spoken revolutionary who came up through the Black Panther party and continues to work for social justice, especially regarding African-Americans and inner-city youth.
For someone my age who is not well-versed in this movement, this was engaging and informative, especially regarding the motivations of such names as Huey P. Newton, Tupac Shakur, and even, Jane Fonda. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys biographies, those interested in social justice issues, high school students and teachers and anyone working with inner-city youth.
Mar 05, Alison rated it really liked it Shelves: An interesting, worthwhile read. Joseph has led a very wild life, and he narrates his stories and experiences with a clear, honest voice. Some terrific information on the Black Panthers and African American life, with much intersectionality discussed clearly. It's sympathetic without being ignorant of the bad, and not dismissive of an entire, necessary social movement because of the bad parts like I have so often seen. The tone of the book is occasionally a bit didactic and plain; I see other re An interesting, worthwhile read.
The tone of the book is occasionally a bit didactic and plain; I see other reviews saying this was aimed at a younger audience, which may be true. While I might have preferred a little more sophistication in the storytelling, much like I said above - the style does not negate the message. Sep 19, Uschiulrich rated it it was amazing.
The book for the most part was highly believable, and made me feel as if I was transported to those activist years. Having not lived through it myself, and have only gained second-hand knowledge through tales my professors have weaved this book has given me further insight into what the Panther movement was about and how corruption spread through it. Jamal's story gripped me through to the end and I finished it in just a few days.
The language is beautiful in its simplicity yet manages to enchan The book for the most part was highly believable, and made me feel as if I was transported to those activist years. The language is beautiful in its simplicity yet manages to enchant and draw one in. I think about one moment when I was most uncomfortable was actually when I got my first book deal.
I was 25, and I got this advance, and all of a sudden, I was going to have money. And I was deeply uncomfortable with the idea that, somehow, I was going to be the one with money. Why did I deserve it? And we called it the Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy because we wanted to make it feel fun and covert.
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And people did wild things. But it was the most joyful night for me because it was a way of being in confusion in community, getting back to this idea in discomfort in relationships, but doing that in a way that felt like I could share it. I think discomfort sometimes comes from really productive, intellectual, and emotional fog, but also comes from disconnection from other people. That a beautiful answer. I love this woman. And I could use a few bucks, myself. My name is Emily, and what an honor to get to listen in to your conversation today. Can I take a crack at that?
So, I wrote a book about it. The Journey Toward an Undivided Life. One of the things this society is most deficient in is safe spaces for truth-telling about the condition of our souls. Everybody has a name for it — different name — and nobody knows its true name. But I mean, say a little bit about what the spiritual technology would be for creating safe spaces. So, I think first of all, safe space needs a facilitator. And I think the role of the facilitator is to keep the space safe, even when someone tries to break the safety.
I think there are some simple rules, there are some not so simple rules, but one of the simplest is no fixing, no saving, no advising, and no correcting each other. Which I think is another of the most critical tasks of our time. So many people unseen, unheard — they need to be heard into speech. Courtney, you wrote a column, or a blog somewhere about listening as a social technology — an innovative — a social innovation for the 21st century.
But I think the point is that it is an art, but it's not something that we — we have to relearn it. The forms we use to discuss difficult things are not actually about listening. They're sometimes about waiting your turn until the other person has finished what they have to say so you can speak. Which is not listening.
And I think, for a lot of us, what was so jarring in the best possible way was we realized how little of that kind of listening we were doing, and how little that kind of listening we were being listened to in that way, how rare that was for us. I mean, we talk about rebellion, and we think about the powerless rebelling against the powerful, right? But the people in this room are generally holding a lot of power. What am I going to do with that? And I think some of the most unethical things that happen in the world is because of that cacophony. Parker, I think that the way you talk about the soul as a piece of intelligence in us and a compass — which is distinct from the intelligence of our minds, or even of our emotions.
I want to say a quick word about how it came to me because it was one of the rare fruits of that experience in deep darkness called clinical depression. All of the faculties I had depended on all my life were useless. I could not think my way out of this. My intellect was useless. My ego, which is pretty strong, as are many of the egos in this room — and I mean that in the best possible way — was shattered. My emotions were dead. Depression is not feeling sad; depression is being unable to feel anything. And my will was so miniscule as to hardly be noticeable.
It involved things like getting up at So, there were moments in that depression when, way back in the thickets of my life, I could feel a little stirring like that wild thing, that wild animal that Mary Oliver refers to in the poem. What came to me as I emerged from depression was that the soul is like a wild animal in two respects. And we know that if we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is go crashing into the woods, shouting for it to come out.
And so the safe space is where the wild animal can put in an appearance. And I value it for that reason. Earlier today, Josh Klein was talking about rebellion through hacking. And he talked about the elegant hack of solving a problem with the fewest amount of code, the easiest, quickest solution. Well, good thing I told you what hacking was backstage, huh?
Well, I think — exactly. First of all, when I was hearing that idea of the elegant hack, I was thinking that is the simplicity on the other side of complexity. You do it in the most beautiful, perfectly-made way, right? So, to me, that is the simplicity on the other side of complexity. But I think generally the architecture of the Internet age does not include a lot of pauses. So, even more reason that these open, honest questions and these moments of silence and grappling with our own power, we must, we absolutely must build them into our lives.
And that architecture is unfolding, right? We are the makers of that. Well, Parker loves language. So I think you were so excited about this new language. And we are so segregated by age in this culture. We talk about other kinds of segregation, but we are segregated by age, and we do have a longing for wisdom and for this cross-generational communication.
I want to just bring this back up here for just a couple more minutes. All disruption and rebellion do not lead to good results. So, a little bit of wisdom about how we train ourselves to know the difference — or what are some practices we can have to be in that state of discernment, even as we are doing important, wonderful work that we feel called to? And I would say, most importantly, a movement community invites its critics into the tent.
Fascism kills off its critics, either literally or metaphorically. And so the discernment about where are we going, you have to listen to the critics. So community is critical to me, and also, holding these paradoxes, like simplicity and complexity, like chutzpah and humility, like breathing in and breathing out, like resting and acting. Simple stuff, but we forget to do it. I think I would offer you some Parker Palmer words, actually, that have been very meaningful to me. And it also is really about feedback. I mean, I think we live in a culture that does not give us a lot of models of what it looks like to learn in public.
And I think, in our political sphere, we actually call it flip-flopping when anyone shifts what they think about something. And really, some of the rebels I respect most did learn in public. You think about Malcolm X, or other people who very visibly shifted their mind about something over a period of time.
So that feels like a really important piece of it to me. I actually want to read some Courtney Martin words too. This is such a beautiful line of yours from your book Do it Anyway: I asked Parker if he would bring a poem to read to finish, and you brought a couple, so you get to choose. I was actually trying to post on my Facebook page, but So, I chose a bunch of stuff, but the one that feels most right to me is a brief meditation by Victoria Safford.
And I think to hold hope these days is to be a rebel. The place of resistance and defiance, The piece of ground from which you see the world Both as it is and as it could be As it will be; The place from which you glimpse not only struggle, But the joy of the struggle. And we stand there, all of us, beckoning and calling, Telling people what we are seeing Asking people what they see. And both Courtney and Parker are weekly columnists for On Being. You can read their moving, thought-provoking commentaries Wednesdays and Fridays at onbeing.
The Ford Foundation, working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide, at Fordfoundation. The Fetzer Institute, helping to build the spiritual foundation for a loving world. Find them at fetzer. Kalliopeia Foundation, working to create a future where universal spiritual values form the foundation of how we care for our common home. September 22, MR. And so he sent me to Berkeley, of course.
Yeah, Oliver Wendell Holmes. Yeah, people engaged in social justice. On Being continues in a moment.
The Inner Life of Rebellion
I know, you used it in the write-up. No, I love it. Man, I love it. I went off on a real trip this morning. On Being was created at American Public Media.