From the Bullet to the Ballot

The Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party and Racial Coalition Politics in Chicago

By Jakobi Williams

304 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 24 halftones, 3 figs., 4 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2210-1
    Published: February 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-0816-7
    Published: February 2013
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4268-8
    Published: February 2013

John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture

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In this comprehensive history of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party (ILBPP), Chicago native Jakobi Williams demonstrates that the city's Black Power movement was both a response to and an extension of the city's civil rights movement. Williams focuses on the life and violent death of Fred Hampton, a charismatic leader who served as president of the NAACP Youth Council and continued to pursue a civil rights agenda when he became chairman of the revolutionary Chicago-based Black Panther Party. Framing the story of Hampton and the ILBPP as a social and political history and using, for the first time, sealed secret police files in Chicago and interviews conducted with often reticent former members of the ILBPP, Williams explores how Hampton helped develop racial coalitions between the ILBPP and other local activists and organizations.

Williams also recounts the history of the original Rainbow Coalition, created in response to Richard J. Daley's Democratic machine, to show how the Panthers worked to create an antiracist, anticlass coalition to fight urban renewal, political corruption, and police brutality.

About the Author

Jakobi Williams is associate professor of African American and African diaspora studies and history at Indiana University.
For more information about Jakobi Williams, visit the Author Page.


"Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above." β€”Choice

"A welcome addition. . . to the substantive literature on the history of the Black Panther Party and on the contested legacies of the civil rights and Black Power movements in the United States."β€”H-1960s

β€œA fascinating work that everyone interested in the Black Panther party or racism in Chicago should read.”—Journal of American History

β€œA vital historical intervention in African American history, urban and local histories, and Black Power studies. . . . A mandatory addition to the bookshelves of students and scholars.”—History: Reviews of New Books

β€œA first-rate piece of scholarship. Anyone interested in social history, urban history, or the history of Chicago must read this work of history.”—Journal of Illinois History

β€œA book filled with passion and conviction. . . . This new book should be read by anyone interested in racism, civil rights, and public life in Chicago and the broader Midwest.”—Middle West Review

Multimedia & Links

Follow the author on Twitter @jakobiwill.

Read: Williams explains the difference between the historic Black Panther Party and the modern hate group the New Black Panther Party in Vox's article "The New Black Panther Party, explained". (11/16/2014)