By Laura Casey
Contra Costa Times, 08/01/2009
A quiet portrait of Bobby Seale inside the Black Panther Party office. Copyright 2009, Howard L. Bingham. Courtesy of www.ammobooks.com
Now-defunct Life magazine wanted a story on the Black Panthers and asked photographer Howard L. Bingham to shoot scenes around Oakland and Los Angeles while reporter Gilbert Moore took notes.
Bingham took nearly 10,000 pictures — from stunning portraits of Panther leaders to Panther gatherings outside the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland — while Moore filled three dozen notebooks over several months following the revolutionary group.
His photos, and Moore's story, were never published by Life.
This month, California-based AMMO Books is releasing Bingham's unpublished work in a stunning new coffee table book, Howard L. Bingham's Black Panthers 1968 ($44.95). The book displays not only Bingham's photos but essays from Moore, biographies on Panther members and guest essays from curators of museums that focus on black issues.
Writer Moore says Life magazine never published his story, despite several drafts, because of its conservative bent.