Black Panthers Essay

794 words - 3 pages


     In 1966, the national Black Panther party was created. Their platform and it’s ideals

struck a chord with blacks across the country, especially in the inner cities of the north. The

Panthers were able to organize and unite these blacks. This alarmed the federal government.

They instituted many controversial, illegal programs of harassment, infiltration, and instigation

which led to the deaths of many Panthers.

     From their inception, the Black Panthers were treated with disdain and contempt. The

Panthers wrote out a platform called “What We Want, What We Believe.” There ideas and

methods appealed greatly to blacks. The past few years had seen the civil rights struggle rise, and

had left many blacks with the feeling that not enough was being accomplished. Many Blacks

shared the view of the Panthers in that violence was needed to defend themselves until true

equality could be achieved. Aside from being militant, the Panthers did things that helped the

community. They set up breakfast, and helped people to clean up their neighborhoods. The

Black Panthers gave many urban black communities a sense of unity and identity that they hadn’t

had before.

     The Panther’s rhetoric of violence alarmed the government. In March of 1968, the

Panther newspaper printed this warning to police, “Halt in the name of humanity! You shall make

no more war on unarmed people. You will not kill another black person and walk on the streets

of the black community to gloat about it and sneer at the defenseless relatives of your victims.

From now on, when you murder a black person in this Babylon or Babylons, you may as well give

it up because we will get your ass and God can’t hide you.”1 This gave the government cause for

alarm, and they stepped up their “efforts” accordingly. The government went through great

lengths to keep up the status quo. They began campaigns of disinformation against the Panthers

in order to stop any support for the Panthers. The Panthers were continuously harassed by police.

Panthers were followed and arrested on minor, sometimes fabricated charges. For Example, in

Oakland California, the headquarters of the Panthers, police would randomly arrest any Panthers.

In 1967, the FBI arrested 21 Black Panthers for “conspiring” to blow up department stores and

botanical gardens in New York.2

     Not only was it local law enforcement that tried to destroy the Panthers, but the FBI was

very actively involved. The FBI had begun using their COINTELPRO program towards the...

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