Were Black Panthers Racist? Or Just News Reporters?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 21st, 2010

For those that think this is a political headline, and a political topic, you are only partially correct. I am not writing about the Oakland, California, AfricanAmerican group, the Black Panthers of the 1960s. No, I’m looking at the records of 1890s’ Black Panthers, specifically the ones called Santers, in North Carolina.

As can be seen from the following newspaper articles from the fall of 1890, the discussion then centered on the enormous all-black felids, locally called Santers, which had as their diet various animals and an unusual extra item, straightforwardly stated to be “negro children.”

So, were these huge cats actually extending their food resources into the human population and picking off little AfricanAmerican offspring, exclusively? Or more logically, should we place this descriptor at the feet of the racism of the news reporters of the era, who perhaps consciously were trying to scare the post-slavery Africans, now Americans, into “staying in line”?

The above was the “contemporary” view of a slave mother and her baby, in June 20, 1860, Harper’s Weekly.

The Carolina Watchman (Salisbury, North Carolina) September 11, 1890, page 3.

The Carolina Watchman (Salisbury, North Carolina) October 9, 1890 , page 3.

My thanks to Argentina’s Fabio Picasso, who shared these news items with me.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

One Response to “Were Black Panthers Racist? Or Just News Reporters?”

  1. MattBille responds:

    A good reminder of how the era and the human society of the time and place filter reports and events.

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