Interview with Deborah Johnson

I want to know how you first found out about the Black Panther Party, and thought about joining it.


I first found out about the Black Panther Party, ah, my brother brought a flier home with, ah, a Black panther on it with, like, it seems like it was walking across the page. And it said, "The Black Panthers are here." And I had heard about the Black Panther Party. Um, they were doing some things at, um, Chicago State University. And, ah, organize--trying to organize free breakfast programs in the community. And I was really impressed with, um, I thought it was good that Black people were standing up and demanding our rights. The Black Panther Party with Fred Hampton and some other members came over to, um, Wright City College, and I heard them speak. Prior to that, I had seen, ah, Fred Hampton, Bobby Rush, Iris, and I think her husband, on Ronnie Barrett's, ah, Chicago Show. And, um, from that I was just really impressed with Fred. He had a really good knowledge of history. He seemed to really be sincere, believing in what he was doing. And their ideas at the time were, um, in agreement with what I believed in and thought in terms of Black people's struggle.