Interview with Elaine Brown

What did it mean to be a Black Panther? What was a Black Panther?


Well, as an individual, and I assume that's what you mean, it meant, you really, it meant committing your life. I mean, that's how we saw it. It meant that we had to surrender up something of ourselves, our own lives. Because we believed that the struggle that we were involved in, which we thought of as a socialist revolution, ah, would take our lives. And so we had to surrender that. We had to make a kind of commitment. Now whether we realistically thought we would die, most of us, I think, did, after a time. Um, but, so it meant surrendering our lives to something greater, which was the notion of, of getting rid of oppression, and ah, and all the things that oppression meant and mean in this country for Black people and other people, ah, in the country. And on a, um, so it meant, it meant not involving yourselves in, what, in yourself and whatever you did as a human being, whatever you were about. It meant really seeing yourself as part of a whole, ah, and part of an entire process, and that you were a soldier in the army. And that's how we saw ourselves, as a soldier in the army, and an army that was about, bringing about revolution, a vanguard army, as we considered ourselves, um, to introduce socialist revolution into the United States of America.