Comrade Sisters

A celebration uplifting the stories and experiences of Black Panther Party women from Philadelphia and beyond


Organizing Institutions

IAMM Science Education Group, Paul Robeson House & Museum, and Slought/Public Trust


Michelle Strongfields, Christopher Rogers

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

IAMM Science Education Group, Paul Robeson House & Museum, and Slought/Public Trust are pleased to announce Comrade Sisters, a celebration uplifting the stories and experiences of Black Panther Party women from Philadelphia and beyond, on Sunday, February 5, 2023 from 4-7pm. Free and open to the public, this community forum will feature a panel discussion with invited book contributors from the recent publication of Comrade Sisters: Women of the Black Panther Party (2022) and other women that were active during the period, who will all be in dialogue with local veteran Black women activists.

The rich impact of the Black Panther Party remains deeply felt in Philadelphia. Many of the Black women from Philadelphia who have helped shape and enliven Black Panther Party organizing in the 1960's and 1970's continue to serve as mentors and guideposts for younger generations. We recognize this as an opportunity to thread generations of activism, recovering lessons from our glorious past that can be applied to today's moment. Join us as we spotlight the unsung legacies of Black women in the Black Panther Party, and recover their significant contributions to wider historical struggles for global Black liberation.

Distinguished speakers representing the era of Panther women include Sis. Pam Africa, Sis. Charlotte Hill O'Neal, Sis. Julia Wright, Sis. Hazel Mack, Sis. Regina Jennings, and Sis. Jilchristina Vest. They will be joined by a younger generation of women who represent the Panther continuum, including Tiffany Murphy, Rashida Bey, Ohenewaa Ra, Stacy Nzinga Hill, Melissa Barber, and Lavinia Davis. This event is co-sponsored by HopePHL (formerly PEC), Plants & People, Uhuru Furniture, Mr. Arnold Holloway, the Philadelphia Student Union, and Black Lives Matter Philly.

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"Many of us have heard these three words: Black Panther Party. Some know the Party's history as a movement for the social, political, economic and spiritual upliftment of Black and indigenous people of color – but to this day, few know the story of the backbone of the Party: the women.

It's estimated that six out of ten Panther Party members were women. While these remarkable women of all ages and diverse backgrounds were regularly making headlines agitating, protesting, and organizing, off-stage these same women were building communities and enacting social justice, providing food, housing, education, healthcare, and more. Comrade Sisters is their story.

The book combines photos by Stephen Shames, who at the time was a 20-year-old college student at Berkeley. With the complete trust of the Black Panther Party, Shames took intimate, behind-the-scenes photographs that fully portrayed Party members' lives. This marks his third photo book about the Black Panthers and includes many never before published images.

Ericka Huggins, an early Party member and leader along with Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, has written a moving text, sharing what drew so many women to the Party and focusing on their monumental work on behalf of the most vulnerable citizens. Most importantly, the book includes contributions from over fifty former women members – some well-known, others not – who vividly recall their personal experiences from that time. Other texts include a foreword by Angela Davis and an afterword by Alicia Garza. All Power to the People."

-- From Ericka Huggins, Comrade Sisters: Women of the Black Panther Party (ACC Art Books, 2022)

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"The Black Panther Party brought out something I didn't know I had. I enjoyed serving people, and I loved the people I served, my African-American people."

—Ethel Paris, Philadelphia Chapter, PA / Oakland Chapter, CA


"My mother would often quote a Ghanaian proverb: 'If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family, a nation.'"

—Aisha El-Mekki (a remembrance by her son Sharif El-Mekki)