Sam Napier was not a member of the April 3rd Movement but several members worked with him, distributing The Black Panther News.
He is worth remembering and honoring—not just by the A3M, but by everyone connected to the movement he helped lead.
He was the head of the Black Panther National Distribution Office on Fillmore in San Francisco. His title was
Circulation Manager, and he was, as a practical matter, the publisher and executive editor of the Black Panther newspaper. Sam was the fellow who got hundreds of thousands of copies of each issue of the Panther paper printed and distributed nationwide without fail and despite the best efforts of the U.S. government to put it out of business.
I had the good fortune to work for him for nearly half a year in the Fillmore office, helping his staff rebuild and operate printing presses. [Glenda Jones received papers from Sam for distribution in EPA and at Kepler’s.] He became both a friend and a mentor, and I miss him more than any other revolutionary I have ever met. There were times when Sam somehow arranged to have an issue of the paper printed simultaneously at as many as a dozen small printing companies across the United States, to make up for the fact that one large printer had suddenly and without warning refused to print the next issue.
Sam was murdered in April, 1971, at an office of the New York Black Panther Party—tied to a chair and shot in the back of his head. He had gone to New York to negotiate the purchase of a Goss press to print the newspaper. Sam was killed by operatives of Cointelpro, some of whom may have infiltrated the New York Panthers.
He was survived by a wife and child.
A 12‐year‐old girl testified in State Supreme Court in Queens yesterday that a mart admitted her and her 13‐year‐old friend to Black. Panther party headquarters in Corona last April 17 and held them there while a member of the Panther party, Sam Napier, was killed.
The girl, Tammy Johnson of 101–04 34th Avenue, Corona, Queens, said that she and her friend, Desiree Brown, had gone to the headquarters to help distribute the Panther newspaper. After they were inside, she said, a man put a gun to her head and told the two to go downstairs. There, she said, they saw Mr. Napier, tied and gagged on a cot, humming, while on a nearby bed Miss Gwen Dolores Morton lay tied and humming.
The two children also were tied and told to hum.
Then, the 12‐year‐old witness testified,
I heard one shot, and I didn't hear Sam any more.
After the shot, she continued softly, almost inaudibly,
we were told to go into the backyard. I fell outside, then started smelling smoke. The fire got real hot. She added that four or five men were in the basement.
Her testimony came on the fourth day of the arson‐murder trial of 17‐year‐old Mark Holder, one of five Black Panther party members indicted by a grand jury. The trials of the other four are pending. It was the first day on which the press and the public were admitted to the courtroom.
“The Black Panther: newspaper of the Black Panther Party.” Link
Girl, 12, Describes Killing of a Black Panther Here, by Max H. Seigel, The New York Times, March 25, 1972; posted online in The New York Times Archives, 1972. Link