Oh Hebert

Above: Hebert and myself

I arrived on campus today sporting a sports jacket and button up collar shirt, only to find myself in a Black Panther Party t-shirt; I assure you, I do not endorse nor favor anything this group represents. Better yet, I did not buy this shirt. My friend and faculty colleague, Stephen Hebert, awaits my arrival this morning offering me this gift. I could not say no of course. Most recently, Hebert and his wife had dinner with Janette and myself at Russo’s, the best pizza place in Houston. Afterwards, we went back to my house to watch Spike Lee’s Malcolm X. We did not put the movie on until 9:00 PM; I forgot that it is over 3 hours and 20 minutes long; we were up until 12:30 AM watching Denzel  Washington play the part. Oh, we both had 8:30 AM classes to teach the next day. I think Hebert is just into the black power movement.

Here is a short history lesson:

By 1966, there was a major shift in civil rights activism. W.E.B. Du Bois, who was in self-exile, died in 1963. Malcolm X, a voice in the North, joined the Nation of Islam, whose adherents called themselves Black Muslims. By 1964, he had left the movement and began to cultivate a greater audience. Due to his divorce from the party, and his on recognition of his hate, he started advocating for greater peace among all people. In the end, his voice was too loud thus bringing about his execution by three Black Muslims. With the death of X, two black brothers named Huey Newton and Bobby Seale organized the Black Panther Party for Self-defense in 1966. They advocating violence, though they were “highly” active in the black community. There good deeds were feeding young school children and educating black folks on how to be productive members to their family. But in the end, this was not and is not a good organization. I have found that my students are highly interested in their story.


9 thoughts on “Oh Hebert

  1. Allow me to explain myself! My wife (Natalie) and I live in a predominantly black neighbor. A few weeks ago, one of our neighbors, a fifteen year old high school girl, came to our door asking us if we’d like to buy a t-shirt to support a group that she was involved with.

    “Absolutely,” I said, without even asking what group she was supporting.

    I handed her $10, and she handed me the shirt. I unfolded it and held up to my body to see if the size was right.

    “Wait a minute,” I said, “Can I actually where this outside?”

    “Ummm…I think so…”

    Now, I’m passing it along to Carson — Enjoy!

  2. Well, Stephen, it looks like you’ve learned an important lesson in consumerism; you get what you pay for. I do wonder, though; is your young neighbor involved in this group? Does it still exist as an organization? (I live in the Northeast – such things are not part of my world).

    Carson, two things: one – I LOVE the mini-lessons. I’ve grown fond of “just the facts, ma’am” kinds of things; while I enjoy going into almost painful depth (you KNOW I do), a quick-and-dirty, here’s the least you need to know is often greatly appreciated, if for nothing more than to give me a base from which to begin my investigation. I’ve become a HUGE fan of Oxfords “A Brief Introduction” series for this very reason.

    Two: while you may not support the Black Panthers, you sure do rock the tee-shirt!

    • @ Mrs. Chili:

      Yes, the Black Panthers do still exist…sort of. I can confirm that they exist because their Houston HQ is less than a block from my home! As I understand it, this is a newer group that is appropriating the original BPP for its own purposes. The Anti-Defamation League considers it a hate group.

      I can tell you that it’s members have been very nice to me…

  3. It’s true — I work with a bunch of underground revolutionaries. This is proof! Thanks for keeping my world real and making me laugh a lot.

  4. My mom made me sit down and watch Malcolm X about two weeks ago. I found it very interesting, and I realized that the movie also showed that black people are their own enemy. As seen in the movie, blacks were the ones who killed one of their own kind due to some jealousy. I’m thankful that you addressed this movie and brought up simple facts about it.

  5. I find it interesting also. I mean, we always hear and know about the KKK and how whites were so against the blacks at the time, but it’s a two way street. It is understandable that because of the KKK the some of the black community found it necessary to fight back. You should talk about it more in class sometime.

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