The SCREEN stands BLACK, like a chalkboard... or a grave.
A SOUND builds, like a RADIO surfing channels. Snippets of
SONGS -- Joan Baez' "Blowin' in the Wind," James Brown's "I
Feel Good." The music of a different time.
IMAGES hit the screen: ROSA PARKS, Peace Demonstrators
stuffing FLOWERS in the barrels of National Guard rifles.
Protesters in Birmingham, rallies on the White House Lawn.
Mixed in with the MUSIC comes NEWS BITES -- quick catchwords
of 60's turmoil -- "More troops to Vietnam," "Bus Boycott,"
"Sit ins," "Draft Dodgers," "Malcolm X speaking."
Then a SINGLE PHOTO settles on screen -- a ROW of BLACK
PANTHERS, fists raised, standing defiantly together.
The IMAGE FREEZES.
The Black Panthers...
As the PHOTO FADES, LIGHTS APPEAR. A SHAPE takes form. The
BAY BRIDGE arcs over silent water, spanning two worlds.
People still ask me how it all
started? How things went so far? And
like a lot of questions about the
Panthers, there are different answers.
Rising behind the voice, the noise of a CROWD can be heard.
What became the Black Panthers really
started with just two guys -- Bobby
Seale and Huey Newton -- saying two
"Defend Yourselves..." Legend
has it they met at some coffee house
where Bobby was running down a
EXT. COFFEE SHOP (BLACK/WHITE) - 1966 - DAY
MARCH 17, 1965
BOBBY SEALE -- a skinny, kinetic black man sporting an Afro --
teeters on a chair in front of a small CROWD. He reads from
a crumpled sheaf of papers.
At the side of the crowd, HUEY NEWTON -- well-built, magnetic --
watches, grooving on the rhythm of the words.
Oh yeah. Yeah it's easy to see right
on your black and white TV. Black
man. Blue cop. Red blood. Niggers
watch other niggers die. That's right
Niggers watching niggers die. That's
the American way...
A COMMOTION starts at the rear of the crowd. TWO UNIFORMED
COPS roughly make their way to Bobby. They pull him off his
chair, cracking his head against the ground.
The cop over Bobby raises his NIGHTSTICK...
A BLACK HAND grabs the club, stopping its arc.
Shocked, the cop turns. It's HUEY. With honed precision, he
DECKS the cop with his free hand.
INT. POLICE CAR (BLACK/WHITE) - 1966 - DAY
Bruised and bloody, Huey and Bobby sit next to each other as
the car moves through the streets.
Pigs threw them in jail. There they
starting talking about black folks
oughta start standing up. No master
plan, no pot to piss in, nothing
like that. Just two fed-up brothers...
Next thing you know, you got the
Black Panther Party for Self
Again, the SCREEN goes BLACK.
For me, it started different. A lot
different. You may as well say The
Panthers started in my front yard...
The black screen DISSOLVES into...
SIDEWALK - DAY
CONCRETE, cracked and dirty, fills the frame. A BICYCLE whips
past, gliding down the pavement.
EXT. 55TH AND MARKET STREETS - OAKLAND - 1967 - DAY
Teeming with life on a bright day, the Ghetto moves to its
own unique cadence. A YOUNG BOY, no older than ten, pedals
down the street on his BICYCLE.
A gust of wind brushes a SHAPELY WOMAN. She GRABS a HAT and
holds tight, ignoring her DRESS rising in the wind. The BOY
ogles her juicy thighs.
Shucks I see you staring, but I ain't
letting go. Them hips is almost forty
years old but the hat is brand new!