"We were treating the people better than we were being treated," says Billy X. Jennings, 55, former Oakland Panther and current Black Panther Party historian. "It was all about serving the people, something people haven't seen in a long time. Somebody who's really dedicated to the general well-being of the community." Jennings helped curate "Louder than Words," an exhibit of candid photos showing the Panthers at their late-'60s/early-'70s mightiest, which is on view as part of the 30th annual National Council for Black Studies Conference at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The free exhibit is more than a chance to see how much impact and influence the Panthers had back in their day; it's also a reminder that young black people can still come together, effect change and do groundbreaking work, not just in the community but in society as well. "It's the Party's time now, in terms of history," says Jennings. "It's that era now."