Underground Newspapers of the 1960s and 1970s

Billy X Jennings on the Black Panther newspaper.

Billy X Jennings, a de-facto historian for the Black Panther Party, was a member of the Oakland chapter from 1968 to 1974, when he worked at the party’s national headquarters. He served as an aid to Huey P. Newton and ran Bobby Seale’s campaign office in East Oakland, when Seale ran for mayor in 1972 and 1973. Since then, Jennings, who also regularly gives Black Panther tours of Oakland, has amassed an impressive collection of underground newspapers from the height of the Civil Rights era. The historic ephemera is on display at the Laney College Library (900 Fallon St., Oakland) in its Underground/Alternative Newspapers of the 1960s and 1970s exhibit, on view through December 11. While the show contains clippings from The Berkeley Barb, The Berkeley Tribe, The San Francisco Express Times, Good Times, The Chicago Seed, and many other papers, Jennings said the heart of the collection focuses on The Black Panther, the party’s own newspaper. It also includes five display cases filled with Black Panther buttons and other materials from the 1960s. At noon on December 3, Jennings will be speaking about the history of the Peace Movement and the development of underground newspapers in relationship to the show. He’ll also share some personal experiences as a Panther selling and working on The Black Panther.


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