Archive for the ‘Black Power’ Category

Charles P. Howard Sr.

January 21, 2011 Leave a comment

From Des Moines Register

“I would rather die and go to hell than to let my children know that by my silence, by my acquiesce, I permitted to grow stronger the sentiment that they were not entitled to absolutely everything that everybody else in this country is entitled to.”– Charles P. Howard Sr.,
The Observer/Iowa Bystander,
April 16, 1927 

Charles P. Howard Sr. (1890-1965) was born in Des Moines and received his law degree from Drake University in 1920. He graduated from the Fort Des Moines officer-candidate school in 1917 as a second lieutenant and served with the 92nd Division, 366th Infantry in World War I France in 1918. A gifted lawyer who never lost a capital trial and co-founded the National Bar Association in 1925, Howard was an Iowa Bystander columnist in the 1920s and 1930s, and later published the Iowa Observer newspaper in 1939.

In 1948, he keynoted the Progressive Party National Convention and befriended controversial entertainer Paul Robeson. After attending the Communist-sponsored World Peace Congress in Warsaw, Poland, in 1950, Howard returned to Iowa the target of intense criticism and was disbarred in 1951. He served as the National Negro Press correspondent at the United Nations until his death, but remains regarded by many as Iowa’s most colorful journalist of all time.


Practical Internationalists: The Story of the Des Moines, Iowa, Black Panther Party

December 31, 2010 Leave a comment

From It’s About Time: Black Panther Legacy and Alumni


Blurbs On the Des Moines Black Panther Party

December 30, 2010 2 comments

From A Black Panther speaks of the past and future

“you would be surprised at how easy it is to do this. The same way we would get buildings. We would just go in and say, oh, look, nobody’s here. It’s vacant. So we’ll just put a clinic up here. Oh, the landlord is now going to come down and we say what? You want us to pay rent? No, we’re not paying rent. We just occupied. We just did this, and we did it all over the country. We did it in Dallas and we did it in Chicago and in Philadelphia and in Boston and in Oakland and in LA, and all over the country where we had Black Panther Party chapters. Detroit. And even Milwaukee. I didn’t know Black people lived in some of these places. Like I learned that Black people lived in like, Iowa. We had a Des Moines, Iowa chapter… [and a chapter in] Lincoln, Nebraska.”

From “Serving the People”: The Survival Programs of the Black Panther Party

“Unfortunately, government officials were sometimes successful in convincing community leaders and parents not to cooperate with the Party. Consequently, in some cities, including Omaha and Des Moines, the school program was discontinued.”

From The Annals of Iowa Vol. 69, No. 1, Winter 2010

North Side Revolutionaries in the Civil Rights Struggle: The African American Community in Des Moines and the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, 1948–1970 by Bruce Fehn and Robert Jefferson

BRUCE FEHN AND ROBERT JEFFERSON describe how the Des Moines chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense emerged in 1968 out of African Americans’ efforts to survive and thrive under particular local conditions of racism, discrimination, and segregation. The authors conclude that the Black Panthers gave a radical shove to black politics but also drew on the support of traditional African American leaders and even some sympathetic members of the white community in Des Moines.

The American Communist Workers Movement (Marxist-Leninist) and the Des Moines Black Panther Party

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment


By early 1971, the ACWM(ML) had in and around its ranks a number of former Panthers and activists formerly associated with the Panthers including the entire former local chapter of the BPP in Des Moines, Iowa. One week they went to Greyhound to pick up that week’s Panther, a thousand copies – instead it was a tape recording from Bobby Seale telling them they were all expelled. This was the beginning of what should have become a larger wave of people coming forward to us.