Pharr was 19 years old and a member of the L.A. chapter of the Black Panther Party on December 8, 1969, when a SWAT team attacked its headquarters in the wee hours of the morning. Pharr was wounded in the five-hour siege involving thousands of rounds of ammunition, explosives, and tear gas. In this compelling memoir, he recalls the tensions between police, the Panthers, and the larger urban black community. Pharr recounts the legal battle that ended in acquittal of most charges, an acquittal secured by a young Johnnie Cochran, and how, in the midst of the police conflict, the party contended with interparty disputes. Pharr also details relationships with major Black Panther figures, including Huey P. Newton, Eldridge Cleaver, Geronimo Pratt, Elaine Brown, Bunchy Carter, and Masai Hewitt. Pharr’s personal journey to the Panthers included a line of patriarchs from Louisiana who’d already instilled in him a resistance to racism. Pharr recounts how he survived the attack and the dissolution of the party but maintained his political stance and later went on to a successful career in real estate. –Vanessa Jones, Booklist

“An important addition to the growing historiography on the Black Panther Party—a searing inside account by a rank-and-file member of one of the most embattled chapters. The book also offers a powerful retrospective journey of Pharr’s days as a Panther and his tumultuous post-Party years.” —Charles E. Jones, editor, The Black Panther Reconsidered

“An engrossing autobiographical account of a crucial period in the African American freedom struggle, Nine Lives of a Black Panther is an important contribution to our understanding of the rapid rise and tragic decline of the Black Panther Party. Wayne Pharr’s book brought back vivid memories of my own experiences during those tumultuous times.” —Dr. Clayborne Carson, historian and founding director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University

“Wayne Pharr’s riveting book opens on December 8, 1969, when he and other Panthers defended themselves against a morning attack mounted by the Los Angeles Police Department’s SWAT team on their Central Avenue headquarters. Nine Lives of a Black Panther continues to illuminate the experiences that led him to commit his young life to the black revolutionary struggle, a captivating saga of the Southern California Black Panther Party trials, murders, political rivalries, and splits rarely explained in print.” —Kathleen Cleaver, former communications secretary, Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and author of Liberation, Imagination, and the Black Panther Party

“This is an unrelenting, up-close-and-personal account of a Black Panther leader in Los Angeles. There are no holds barred in this riveting memoir.” —Jeffrey Haas, author of The Assassination of Fred Hampton and cofounder of the People’s Law Office

“With startling revelations, Nine Lives of a Black Panther gives the reader an inside view into the heart and soul of a revolutionary who asserts an uncompromising right to self-defense. This is an essential and unforgettable book.” —Henry “Hank” Jones, Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, San Francisco

“His appealing memoir [is] a technicolor portrait of a famous offshoot of the black struggle for equality.” Publishers Weekly


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