of the political rallying cries of the Black Panther Party
was, “Serve the people body and soul.” Alondra
Nelson has brought forth a highly informative, meticulously
documented, extremely relevant, and deeply engaging historical
account of precisely how the daily activism of the Black
Panther Party, in the area of health care, positively impacted
Black and poor communities throughout the United States.
It is an important narrative that heretofore has been largely
untold and unknown.
book delves deeply into various Free Medical Clinics, etc.,
established by the Black Panther Party, in addition to giving
examples of how the medical establishment of this nation
often callously marginalized the health needs and concerns
of Black and poor people, and the concomitant efforts by
the Black Panther Party to address that devastating and
debilitating reality. Whether describing the Black Panther
Party’s organizing efforts against the ravages of Sickle
Cell Anemia or the authoritarianism of the entrenched medical
establishment, Alondra Nelson breaks it down in a clear,
concise, and thought-provoking fashion. Moreover, if indeed
“a picture is worth a thousand words,” then the many photos
and illustrations also contained in this book serve to complement
Nelson’s already incisive writing. Her numerous primary
sources are varied and impeccable.
Alondra Nelson’s straight-forward, no nonsense, easy to
understand style of writing entices the reader, making it
virtually impossible to put the book down. She brilliantly
demonstrates her combined passion and intellect for her
and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against
Medical Discrimination is not only about the important historical role of the Black Panther Party
in the struggle against medical discrimination; it also
imbues the reader with an understanding and a profound sense
of urgency for the present.
Alondra Nelson’s book should be required reading
in colleges and universities throughout this nation. It
should also be spread far and wide in local communities
everywhere, as many, if not even more, of these fundamental
and serious health issues are with us today. The politics
related to physical and emotional health remain an integral
part of the politics of survival.
to where we may be in the United States, or anywhere
else on this precious planet of Mother Earth, the physical
and emotional well-being and health of everyday, ordinary
people is of paramount importance, and the struggle continues.
The rallying cry remains: “All Power to the People!”
Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination!
It will remind you of what has been done, and what can and
must yet be done today. In the words of Rosa Luxemburg,
“History is the only true teacher...”
Onward, then, my sisters and brothers.
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board Member, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran
of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior
of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner
and the only American to have successfully self-authored
his civil / political rights case to the United Nations
under the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities
in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed
in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour,
formerly known as The MacNeil / Lehrer News Hour. For more about
Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and
Thinker, by William
Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here
to read excerpts from the book.) Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.