As we approach Women’s Hiserstory Month, we turn our eyes toward not only the women making moves today, but also toward the women of the revolution. We remember that the Black Panther movement largely focused on men, with regular nods to the most prominent women in the movement. A new account, Comrade Sisters: Women of the Black Panther Party, co-authored by Ericka Huggins, activist, political prisoner, and leader in the Black Panther Party, puts a spotlight on the lesser-celebrated women behind the movement.
One might be surprised to learn that women made up over two-thirds of the party. Comrade Sisters is a photographic homage to the women who implemented free medical clinics and breakfast programs and distributed free food and other services, while also caring for their children and families in between taking to the streets to protest for freedom and Black liberation.
During a panel at the Columbia University Institute for Research in African American studies last year, about the development of Comrade Sisters which includes personal accounts, Huggins said, “I had a dream about saying the names of the women of the Black Panther Party, some of whom have never been thanked.”
With contributions including over fifty former women members, a foreword by Angela Davis, and an afterword by Alicia Garza, Comrade Sisters is full of moving text and photography sharing the work of women in the revolution while also saying thank you for your service.
Support Black-owned booksellers and order your copy from the nation’s oldest Black bookstore, Marcus Books! Or check out Life Enrichment Bookstore in Seattle at 5023 Rainier Avenue South, 206-722-1700.
Editor’s note: The Seattle Chapter of the Black Panther Party, the first chapter established outside of the state of California, will celebrate its 55th anniversary in April 2023. Be on the lookout for a new film, Seattle Panthers Fight for Justice and Freedom, produced by Seattle Chapter founders Aaron and Elmer Dixon, and Rick and Marques DuPree, also directed by Rick DuPree. Watch the trailer below and learn more about the film here.