Larry Pinkney’s letter to Billy X Jennings, in the Our Stories section of the Black Panther Party Legacy & Alumni – It’s About Time website. Published on about January 8, 2006.

Comrade brother Billy,

It was really fantastic hearing your voice on the phone this morning after all these many years. I salute and compliment you for your much needed work in carrying on the legacy of the Black Panther Party. It is, as you know, of immense importance both historically and currently.

After speaking with you this morning on the phone (re: Landon’s ph.#), I telephoned sister Kathleen (Cleaver) and left her a message letting her know that we spoke. Kathleen is someone for whom I maintain the utmost respect and admiration.

With reference to the UN matter that I alluded to, the following information may be of interest to you: I am the only “American”, nonlawyer, and former Black Panther who successfully self authored/litigated a case to the UNITED NATIONS HRC (Human Rights Committee) under international law (specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.) [Reference: 1) The Burning Spear (UHURU) newspaper, Oakland, CA, July, 1983, article entitled, ‘U.S., Canada, in case of black prisoner Violate International Law’ 2) the Associated Press (AP) carried the news of the landmark UN ruling worldwide, on December 15, 1981,—see also the Ottawa Citizen daily newspaper, Ottawa, Canada, 12/15/81, dateline Geneva (AP) article entitled, ‘Canada Violated Rights Agreement’ re the UN ruling in my case and 3) The Province daily newspaper, December 15, 1981, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, article entitled, ‘ Violated ‘. Also, there are at least two books published by the UNITED NATIONS which refer to my case, copyright UN General Assembly, New York, 1982, and 1985, respectively. The UNITED NATIONS HRC finally ruled in my favor under articles 14 (3) (c), and 15 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Having been a member of the BPP, I credit the Black Panther Party for having instilled me with discipline and determination which, in large measure, had given me the fortitude to successfully self author/litigate my case from prison to the United Nations, which took me over five years. Thus, the BLACK PANTHER PARTY should receive recognition and credit for that United Nations ruling, not merely me.

Fortunately, I had also had the privilege of serving as the CoChairman of the San Francisco Black Caucus, which of course had a close and “warm relationship” with the Black Panther Party. [Reference: THE BLACK PANTHER (newspaper) Intercommunal News Service, dated October 21, 1972, pages 6 & 12, article entitled, ‘A CAUCUS FOR THE COMMUNITY: The San Francisco Black Caucus Serves The People’.] I also served as regional minister of interior with the Republic of New Africa (RNA), and later became chairman of the Black National Independence Party (BNIP), but it always was (will always be) the Black Panther Party, which years previously had first trained me to think critically, and provided me with consciousness, direction, and political education.

Anyway comrade, I thought the above historical information might be of interest to you as a historian as you keep the legacy of the BPP alive and strong. Indeed, the struggle continues.

Stay strong my brother.

All Power To the People,
Larry Pinkney

cc: Kathleen Cleaver

file copy


Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities, Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour, and more recently on the nationally syndicated Alex Jones Show. Pinkney is a former university instructor of political science and international relations, and his writings have been published in various places, including The Boston Globe, San Francisco BayView newspaper, Black Commentator, Intrepid Report, Global Research (Canada), LINKE ZEITUNG (Germany), 107 Cowgate (Ireland and Scotland), and Mayihlome News (Azania/South Africa). He is in the archives of Dr. Huey P. Newton (Stanford University, CA), cofounder of the Black Panther Party. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book.)


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