Sat. May 25th, 2024

Leave Leo “Lee” Berry, the white-enthralling Black Panther, radical, not stylish.

By ki0nk Apr1,2024
News

He was arrested in 1969 on charges of intending to carry out attacks in New York, and he reluctantly inspired Tom Wolfe’s pamphlet against the wealthy left-wingers. Both of these events took place in 1969.

NEW YORK — The The fight for the civil rights of African Americans that was carried out by Black Panther Leo “Lee” Berry, who passed away a few days ago at the age of 78 from cerebral anoxia, will forever remain intertwined with the canapés of bacon, walnut, and Roquefort cheese that were served with champagne on January 14, 1970 in the luxurious 13-bedroom penthouse in Manhattan that was owned by conductor Leonard Bernstein and overlooked Park Avenue.

Felicia, the wife of the composer of West Side Story, was the one who organised the famous party. The purpose of the party was to raise money that would be donated to the Black Panthers, which is a Marxist-Leninist organisation. More specifically, the funds were intended to pay the bail of Berry, who was taken from a hospital bed and accused of planning to organise bomb attacks in New York. Berry was severely beaten while still in prison.

There was a social evening that was attended by the most prominent members of the New York liberal community, such as the director Otto Preminger, the anchorwoman Barbara Walters, the publisher Jean Stein, and the philanthropist Cynthia Phipps. Additionally, there were several “panthers” who were dressed in leather jackets and black glasses. One of these “panthers” was the local leader Donald Cox, who would soon be featured on the cover of Newsweek.

The waiters served gourmet delicacies in livery, and they were strictly white so as not to offend the black guests. An evening that the author and Tom Wolfe, the father of the New Journalism movement, which was the first time that literature and journalism were combined, later immortalised in an unforgettable and caustic article for New York Magazine titled Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny’s. This article later became the famous essay Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, which is the origin of the derogatory adjective that still today is used to refer to progressives who are able to combine revolutionary rhetoric with material well-being.

In addition, it is difficult to believe that Berry’s life and the challenges she faced while working as a commercial photographer in East Harlem were never a part of such a lovely environment. “A moment in which we were losing all hope,” he said in a recent interview before joining the organisation that was founded in California in 1966 as an alternative to the non-violence preached by Martin Luther King, Jr., immediately following his assassination in Memphis in 1968.

He was a veteran of the United States Army who had been discharged due to the schizophrenic disorders that would continue to torment him throughout his entire life. In point of fact, the Black Panthers had replaced the principles of non-violence with those of self-defense. They distinguished themselves not only for their paramilitary discipline and for their patrolling actions, which included patrolling during protests with weapons in plain sight in order to intimidate the police, but also for the numerous violent clashes that involved them. They became the FBI’s number one adversary very quickly, which resulted in the infiltration of several persons into the organisation and the creation of a large number of fabricated cases.

Including the one that featured Berry, who was known as Panther 21, and the trial of the 21 panthers, which consisted of 19 men and two women who, in April 1969, were charged by a mole of wanting to blow up some department stores in Manhattan, police stations, and the Bronx Botanical Garden. False accusations, and everyone was found not guilty.

Berry, who had just been married and was 24 years old at the time, was admitted to the hospital. He found out from his mother that he was sought, and he made the decision to call the authorities himself in order to inform them of his location. The moment he was picked up, he was subjected to terrible beatings. A beating that was reported by his wife, Marva, along with the solicitors, and which at the time also caught the attention of Sidney Lumet, who was both a director and an activist. He was the first person to organise a fundraiser, and he invited Marva to speak about the trials that her husband had endured while he was incarcerated.

In response to the news, Felicia Bernstein, who was invited to attend the event, expressed her disbelief by saying, “I couldn’t believe that in our country someone could be treated in such an inhumane way.” To raise the necessary monies for Lee’s bail, she made the decision to get herself busy and raise the money.

Of course, the cultural differences between the New York liberals and the Black Panthers who were invited to the Bernstein house are summed up in the conversation that Berry’s wife had with a wealthy white lady. The rich white lady confessed to her that she was afraid of being killed along with her capitalist husband in the event of a revolution that he would have liked to support in an ideal world.

“Oh, no,” Berry’s wife said. Try not to be terrified. The African-American activist offered her some consolation by saying, “There is no reason.” Marva Berry, who had six children with Wolfe before she divorced Lee, expressed her gratitude for that event in an interview with the New York Times. She said, “The Bernsteins were very welcoming and gave attention to the movement when few still understood what we blacks were going through.” This is despite the fact that Wolfe’s account is not very compelling.

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By ki0nk

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