The Black Panther Black Community News Service Volume I, #4 (Oakland, CA: July 3, 1967).
Tabloid format newspaper, published bi-weekly. 12pp. (incl. cover).
SIGNED by Kathleen Cleaver in the margin above the masthead (Kathleen Neal joined the Black Panther Party and became the assistant editor of its newspaper in November 1967, married its co-founder Eldridge Cleaver in December, and subsequently became the party’s Communications Secretary).
The paper’s front cover headline story, “Stokely Carmichael Drafted!”, reports on the draft notice recently served on him, describing how when Carmichael “first took his stand against the draft, he was virtually the only internationally known Afro-American leader to do so”.
It continues by noting the irony of “other prominent Afro-Americans Muhammed Ali, Martin Luther King and Redd Fox” having fallen in behind him just as he was drafted (Carmichael had previously been chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] and helped popularise the anti-draft slogan “Hell no, we won't go!”). In response, Huey Newton issued his “Executive Mandate No. 2”, reproduced in full on page 6, drafting Stokely Carmichael “into the Black Panther Party for Self Defense” and investing him “with the rank of Field Marshall” (later, in 1968, Carmichael accepted the position of Honorary Prime Minister in the party).
Page 3 prints an essay by Newton, “In Defense of Self Defense” (the second of his regular columns with this title), accompanied by Blair Stapp’s photograph of him seated on a wicker chair clutching a spear in one hand and a shotgun in the other, one of the most famous images of the 1960s (it was composed by Eldridge Cleaver in May 1967 and later offered for sale as a poster through the Panthers’ offices). A section on page 7 by Newton (the BPP’s Minister of Defense), in which he recommends various weapons, states: “And if you don’t believe in lead, you are already dead.”
Page 4 prints a drawing by Emory Douglas accompanying a quote from Che Guevara, and a second one, on page 11, depicts a child requesting from his parents “A machine gun, a shotgun, a box of hand grenades, a box of dynamite and a box of matches” for his birthday. Both images are examples of Douglas’s work as he transitioned from his involvement with the Black Arts Movement to his new role as Revolutionary Artist for the Black Panther Party.
The front cover also features the paper’s second appearance of the pig drawing, embellished with a star-shaped police badge by Douglas and captioned ‘Support Your Local Police’, predating the popularisation of the term ‘pig’ in reference to the police and Douglas’s own trademark caricature of a pig in various guises walking on its hind legs.
Old central horizontal fold; newsprint paper lightly age-toned; o/w Very Good.
An extremely rare, early issue of the BPP’s newspaper (more so signed by one its leading members), and only the third one to be printed on a roll press using real newsprint (the first issue, dated April 25, 1967 was mimeographed in an edition of 1000 copies on a machine loaned by the Diggers).