No, not T’Challa of the Black Panther superhero comic book series…
“A Panther in Africa” is a feature documentary that tells the story of Pete O’Neal, a former Black Panther, one of the last exiles from the time of the Black Power movement. Facing gun charges in Kansas City in 1970, O’Neal fled to Algeria, where he joined other Panther exiles. Unlike the others, however, O’Neal never found his way back to America. He moved on to Tanzania, where, for the last 30+ years, he has struggled to continue his life of social activism – and to hold on to his identity as an African American.
In brief, O’Neal was arrested on October 30, 1969 by Kansas City ATF agents, for transporting a shotgun across state lines by a felon. O’Neal fled the country to avoid a four-year prison sentence on the gun charge but was unaware that ATF also had plans to prosecute him as a part of the Midwest 22 alleged bomb conspiracy. The ATF was engaged in a turf fight with the Federal Bureau of Investigation over jurisdiction of bomb investigations and both agencies were after Pete O’Neal. The FBI had targeted the Kansas City leader under the clandestine COINTELPRO program directed by J. Edgar Hoover while ATF agents suspected there was a multi-state bomb conspiracy by the leadership of several Midwestern chapters of the Black Panthers.
There’s a riveting scripted feature film in this story, and many others like it.
O’Neal and his wife Charlotte fled the United States for Algeria before ending up in Tanzania where O’Neal was granted political asylum. O’Neal currently heads the United African Alliance Community Center in the village of Imbaseni, near the northern city of Arusha. The UAACC is a community center providing a diverse array of culture and services to the village.
O’Neal has sought clemency for the gun charge so that he can return to the United States, but has been denied any leniency.
The feature documentary that tells his story (directed by Aaron Matthews), is now available online. Watch it below: