This image is the cover for the book Power to the People

Power to the People

This pictorial history tells the story of the revolutionary Black Panther Party in the words of its co-founder, Bobby Seale.

Coming toward the end of America’s epic Civil Rights Movement, the Black Panther Party was one of the most creative and influential responses to racism and inequality in American history. They advocated armed self-defense to counter police brutality, and initiated a program of patrolling the police with shotguns—and law books.

In words and photographs, Power to the People explores the impact and achievements of this revolutionary organization. The words are Seale’s, with contributions by other former party members. The photographs are by Stephen Shames, the Panther’s most trusted documentarian. Power to the People is a testament to their warm association, combining Shames’s memorable images with Seale’s colorful in-depth commentary culled from many hours of conversation.

Shames also interviewed major party figures for this volume, including Kathleen Cleaver, Elbert “Big Man” Howard, Ericka Huggins, Emory Douglas, and William “Billy X” Jennings. His photography is supplemented with Panther ephemera and graphic art.

Stephen Shames, Seale Bobby

Stephen Shames is one of America’s leading photographers dealing with social issues, whose career began with his work with the Black Panthers. Describing his work, the New York Times said, “Mr. Shames follows in the honored tradition of Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine.” One of his eight books, Outside the Dream, his exploration into child poverty in America, earned him the accolades of President Jimmy Carter and Senators Edward Kennedy and Bill Bradley. Stephen's work has been widely exhibited and is in the permanent collections of many museums. He represented by Steven Kasher Gallery and lives in New York City. Bobby Seale was the chairman of the Black Panther Party during its most vital years. He is the author of Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton (1970) and A Lonely Rage: The Autobiography of Bobby Seale (1978). Born in Liberty, Texas, he worked as a mechanic after a stint in the Air Force. He met Huey Newton at Merritt College, where they were both enrolled in the early 1960s, and together they founded the party. A political activist and community organizer, he lives in Vallejo, California.