Pete O’Neal, Bibliographic Essay

While I found several people who knew Pete O’Neal, both during his time with the Kansas City BPP and his later activism, no one I interviewed wanted to be recorded. I got useful insight from two activists I interviewed and they allowed me to use their words on the condition that they stayed anonymous and that I not record their voices. Attempts to contact O’Neal went unanswered, so all quotes from him come from extensive interviews conducted by former journalist and author Steve Penn. Penn published the interviews in a recent book on O’Neal’s life, Case for a Pardon: the Pete O’Neal Story (Kansas City: Pennbooks, Inc., 2013).

Another book critical resource in telling the story of O’Neal’s activism was Reynaldo Anderson’s essay, “The Kansas City Black Panther Party and the Repression of the Black Revolution,” published in the book On the Ground: The Black Panther Party in Communities Across America, edited by Judson L. Jeffries (Jackson: University of Mississippi, 2010).  A great starting place for those wanting to learn more about the Black Panther Party in general is Stanley Nelson’s 2016 PBS documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution. A good book explaining the circumstances which lead to the creation of the BPP is Donna Jean Murch’s book, Living for the City: Migration, Education, and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010). For more on the uniqueness of Kansas City’s black communities and the roots of activism within them Charles E. Coulter’s book, Take Up the Black’s Man Burden: Kansas City’s African American Communities 1865-1939 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2006) is highly recommended. For those interested in “the new Jim Crow” system that O’Neal fell victim to as a young man, Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New York: The New Press, 2012) is recognized as the groundbreaking work on the topic.