Publication Date: May 12, 2022
Nef, short for Nefertiti, is born and raised in the French West Indies. Her mother is a devout Catholic who believes in racial integration, while her father advocates armed revolution to bring down white rule around the world. Nef attends college in New York, graduating with a journalism degree, and then participates in the 1964 “Mississippi Freedom Summer” project led by Martin Luther King Jr. Back in New York, the editor of the Harlem Herald hires Nef as a reporter. She covers fires and crimes in Harlem until her editor assigns her to do the newspaper’s first-ever investigative report, covering the Black Panther Party in Oakland. Following the Party’s astonishing rise to national prominence, she meets Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton. Cleaver wants to unleash the Panthers immediately in guerrilla warfare against the police, whereas Newton wants to establish community programs in order to enlist the support of the black community when he decides to order the revolution to begin. As Nef gets more intimately familiar with Newton (whom the Panthers reverentially call “Servant of the People,” or “Servant” for short, and the FBI dubs as the “Black Messiah”), she begins to question his veracity and intentions.
Nefertiti LaReine Loumière, born in Guadeloupe, finds herself straddling two worlds where the light complexion of her skin and economic resources set her apart from other black people.
Her coming-of-age story unfolds in When Black Panthers Prowled Amerika by author Dr. Pam, which is set in the tumultuous times of the 1960s in the United States. After graduating from college, she is drawn by a moral obligation to the Deep South, where she pledges to stand up for racial equality.
Upon her return to New York, she lands a job at the Harlem Herald, where she eventually delves into stories about Black Power involving revolutionaries such as the Black Panthers.
It’s an illuminating story set against historical events from the perspective of a black main character. The author provides a solid contrast of racial relations in the discussions Nef has early in the story with her white husband.
What I found most intriguing is the information shared by the author at the end of the story, allowing me to reflect on the content from a different perspective.
When Black Panthers Prowled Amerika delivers a powerful narrative on race relations with a strong female main character who finds her voice within the stories she writes.
In 1964, Pam joined a thousand college students participating in the “Mississippi Freedom Summer,” under the guidance of Martin Luther King Jr. Following this life-changing experience, Pam returned north to lead a civil rights group in Buffalo while earning a PhD in clinical psychology. Pam currently practices in the Bronx, New York.