“Sooner or Later, Somebody’s Gonna Fight Back” seeks to document and examine the history and political development of the Louisiana State Chapter of the Black Panther Party. Using rare archival footage, photos, news articles, flyers, in-depth interviews, and more, this multimedia project explores radical organizing in New Orleans, LA, state repression to such organizing, and the untold struggles and experiences of Black Panther members who organized to create a more just New Orleans in the early 1970s.
“Sooner or Later, Somebody’s Gonna Fight Back” is the first documentary film to chronicle the political development, organizing strategies, violent state attacks, and community support of the New Orleans branch of the National Committee to Combat Fascism (NCCF), which later became the Louisiana State Chapter of the Black Panther Party. Sooner or Later's 11-minute trailer is a work in progress from 2001, with a full length to follow.
In the mid 1960’s, Black Americans—aggravated by the frustration and alienation of living in communities stricken with high unemployment, frequent incidents of police violence, urban displacement, under-funded schools, and substandard housing—experienced a shattered sense of hope and confidence in the concessions gained during the Civil Rights Movement. Searching for ways to improve the conditions of their communities and fight the injustices of institutionalized racism, militarism, sexism, and poverty, many youth in urban areas sought new strategies of liberation that invested ‘all power to the people,’ challenged discriminatory policies, and advocated for community control of neighborhoods and local institutions, and challenged the police violence.
The year 1970 marked a continuation of extreme state repression against the Black Panther Party nationally and globally—as witnessed in the previous decade with the deaths of 39 Party members within a 3-year period. Politicized by the philosophy of self-determination and the practices of revolutionary socialism through grassroots organizing and community-based initiatives designed to ‘meet the needs of the people,’ the New Orleans branch of the National Committee to Combat Fascism (NCCF), an organizing bureau of the Black Panther Party, worked to create a different New Orleans. At the time of NCCF’s formation in the early spring of 1970, many Party leaders—including Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Geronimo Ji-Jaga Pratt, David Hilliard, and Eldridge Cleaver—were either in jail facing long prison terms on trumped up charges, on trail, or living in exile.
Within months of establishing a headquarters, relocating 3 times, holding political education classes, and launching community survival programs (free breakfast, substance abuse and addiction services, legal rights teach-ins, security patrol, sickle cell anemia testing), members of NCCF found themselves under the attack of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Armed with the support of residents of the Desire Public Housing Development, the city’s Civil Rights community, the social justice community, and a committed legal team, NCCF members, which became the Louisiana State Chapter of the Black Panther Party, were able to create an awareness of the interconnectedness of social, political, and economic injustices, demonstrate a grassroots model of self-determination, serve the needs of the people, and win unprecedented legal battles proving their innocence against violent state attacks.
Chapter Leadership and Members included: Althea Francois (deceased), Alton Edwards, Betty Powell, Bryant Hunter, Carol Houston, Catherine Bourns, Charles (Chuckie) Scott (deceased), Conrad Harris, Dale Alexander, Elaine Young X, Elisah Abram, Ellis Robinson, Ernest Touro (Head), Ganell Sims, George Loyd, George Russell, Godthea Cooper, Grant Cooper, Harold Holmes, Harry, Henry Jerome, Isaac (Ike) Edward III, James Philips, Jason, Kathy Bourne (deceased), Larry Jackson, Leah Bernadette Hodges, Leon Lewis (Nose), Leroy Jones, Malik Rahim (formerly Don Guyton), Marion Brown, Marshall Keelan, McCall, Milton Martin, Odell Brown (Crack), Patches (deceased), Pat Jones, Robert Revels (Mano Shoop), Ronald Ailsworth, Shelly Batiste (deceased), Shirley Duncan, Steve Green, Tyrone Edwards, William Cloud, Willie Lee, and many more.
Filmmakers Shana griffin and Brice White established Urban Unrest, a multimedia film project, in 2002 to document radical movements in New Orleans and to examine state repression against all forms of dissent. Shana and Brice live in New Orleans, LA, USA, where they are actively involved in local and transnational organizing projects.
Sooner of Later is the first documentary film to chronicle the political development and organizing strategies of the Louisiana State Chapter of the Black Panther Party. Support from you will allow us to complete this multi-media project and bring attention to the organizing of efforts of women and men who fought to create a more just New Orleans in the 1970s.