This side of glory : the autobiography of David Hilliard and the story of the Black Panther Party : Hilliard, David : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

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Includes index

This Side of Glory is both a compelling personal narrative and an eyewitness account of the Black Panthers that reclaims a piece of history long obscured and now almost lost. Just as David Hilliard’s candid life story illuminates this revolutionary movement, it sheds light on America’s present racial and political troubles. Hilliard’s experiences encapsulate an entire generation. Born in the forties, the twelfth child in a poor but intact Alabama family, he began life as

the traditional Southern black culture was ending. When the family migrated to the West Coast, Hilliard and his pals hung out on Oakland’s streets, exhilarated by the fifties boom, testing their adolescent selves to the fullest, but also learning the limits of blacks’ participation in American life. Witnessing the unfulfilled promises of the civil rights movement and an expanding economy, Hilliard joined the rebelliousness of the sixties and the Black Panther Party. Old

friendships with and tested loyalties to the Party founders, coupled with his intelligence, catapulted him into the position of Chief of Staff. In retrospect, the naivete of these young revolutionaries astounds. Responding to the brutal police beating of a fifteen-year-old black girl, the first armed patrols were intended to make the police obey the law. When the inevitable shoot-out occurred, a policeman was dead, Huey Newton badly wounded and under arrest for murder

The ensuing Free Huey campaign propelled the first

black American armed revolutionary movement into a nationwide organization providing free food and medical and legal services to the poor, and, ultimately, into electoral politics. This Side of Glory breaks twenty years of silence to provide firsthand accounts of Huey Newton’s shoot-out, the killing of Fred Hampton, how money was raised and spent, the sexual mores of the Panthers, how illegal activities erupted and were

controlled. Whatever their accomplishments and failings, the Panthers, “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country,” according to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, began to dissolve as police raids, gun battles, IRS investigations, trials, and prison terms decimated their ranks. Covert tactics including infiltrators – agents provocateurs – and a disinformation campaign turned Panthers against one another. Some, Hilliard included, turned to drugs and alcohol

Whatever the government had not destroyed, the Panthers finished themselves. Hilliard was imprisoned and deserted by the Party. His subsequent disillusionment, addiction, and degradation serve as paradigms for African-American despair in the seventies and eighties. Written with the drive of a novel, Hilliard’s riveting story of young militant blacks reaching toward a vision of justice and radical change is in the tradition of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. This Side of

Glory is an important historical document and one of the most profoundly telling memoirs of our time

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