The infamous Black Panther party made history as the radical African-American organization established to promote civil rights and self-defense from the mid-1960s to the 1970s.
In 1968, LIFE magazine sent writer Gilbert Moore and photographer Howard L. Bingham to document and tell the story of the controversial Black Panthers. The Panthers were wary of mainstream media and their Minister of Information, Eldridge Cleaver, would only allow LIFE to do the story if Bingham was the photographer. Bingham and Moore followed the Panthers for months, from Oakland to New York to Los Angeles, only to have the story pulled due to a disagreement between Moore and the magazine. Now, forty years later, these photographs and their story will finally be published.
In the interim, photographer Howard Bingham has documented some of the most compelling people and events of our time, from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Malcolm X and Robert Kennedy, and his lifelong friend Muhammad Ali.
"If I had to choose one book of political photojournalism published this year, though, it would have to be 'Howard Bingham's Black Panthers 1968.' Bingham spent a year recording the Panthers' brief ascendancy during the radical ferment of 1968, and his images of the likes of Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale and Eldridge and the incredibly stylish Kathleen Cleaver are a wonderful portrait of a revolutionary time that seems long gone." —The Guardian
"Bingham excels at capturing the militant pro-black, post-Negro symbolism of the Panthers, typically clad in black leather. ... He furnishes an historic album about an inner circle and their outer posture. The radical consciousness of race that Bingham chronicles in late '60s America seems indeed distant from the Obama era." —Chicago Sun-Times