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In the Panthers' Trenches

October 30, 1994|ANNE BERGMAN

In June, 1968, Los Angeles-based photographer Howard Bingham found himself on his way to Oakland to shoot the Black Panthers for an article for Life magazine by Gilbert Moore. As a stringer for Life, Bingham had covered riots in Watts, Detroit and Newark earlier in the '60s. Life's editors, Moore said, thought Oakland--the center of Black Panther activity--could be the next urban area to go up in flames. Yet Bingham was unconcerned by the potential violence. "I was just going to do a job," Bingham recalled recently. "We went up there to photograph the Panthers as an organization--to capture a moment, a whole scene." As it happened, neither Bingham's photos nor Gilbert Moore's article, which Moore later turned into a book, "A Special Rage," were ever published in Life. Upon the release of the film "Panther" next year, Bingham plans to exhibit his photographs, some of which appear here, in Los Angeles.

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