They Held Their Fists Up: The Myth of the Violent Black Panther and the Making of the Angola 3

Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Kent Germany

Second Advisor

Patricia Sullivan


This work is an analysis of the historical memory and media framing of the Angola 3, leaders of the Louisiana State Penitentiary based chapter of the Black Panther Party. Members of the Angola 3 were sentenced to life in solitary confinement for the murder of prison guard Brent Miller, and I argue that media framing and depictions of the Black Panther Party as violent have resulted in the continued incarceration of Albert Woodfox, and has distorted the aims of the Angola 3’s organizing. I also argue that Warden Burl Cain’s harsh opposition to the Black Panther Party has inadvertently given activists, artists and former members of the Black Panther Party the opportunity to craft a revisionist narrative of the Black Panther Party.


© 2015, Holly Genovese

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