Black Panther is the biggest and maybe even blackest movie of the year, but it’s already getting right-wing commenters up in arms and the movie has yet to be publicly released.
The problem seems to be the film’s name and its unapologetic celebration of Black culture. One of the most bizarre conspiracies is the movie’s association to the Black Panther Party. Back in the late 60’s, at the height of the party’s popularity, a 13-page coloring book emerged depicting Black people using violence against their oppressors, but according to The Outline it was never meant to be an instruction manual to kills cops and yet the association alone is feeding an unwarranted propaganda that Black people are trying to take over the world.
The Black Panther Party didn’t want it distributed
The coloring book was controversial from the start, showing Black people being kidnapped from Africa, forming the Black Panther Party, and turning the tables on the literal pigs. Activist Ward Churchill described its history in an essay called “To Disrupt, Discredit and Destroy: The FBI’s Secret War against the Black Panther Party,” noting that the party didn’t even want the coloring book to go out to kids because of the violence it depicted.
The party ordered that the coloring book, which was done by artist James Teemer, who now goes by Akinsanya Kambon, be destroyed.
But Los Angeles Chapter member Larry Clayton Powell reportedly ignored those orders and distributed around 1,000 copies. It later came out that Powell and his wife were actually police and FBI informants, but the FBI still used the coloring book as proof that the Black Panthers were promoting violence.
It’s also possible that the FBI made the book appear even more violent, though that isn’t clear.
The FBI sent the coloring books to area businesses in an attempt to convince them that the Black Panthers couldn’t be trusted. This was reportedly used to take down initiatives like the free breakfast program and to sow distrust within the Party itself.