The 1960's ushered in a period of massive activism, both political and social. Many single interest groups rose to the forefront of American media and became household names. These groups made great changes in American thought and society, some even made changes around the world. Of the latter, the Black Panther Party is one of the most intriguing. The Black Panther Party rose to prominence almost immediately after its formation, and within a few years spread around the globe.
Huey P. Newton, along with Bobby Seale, co-founded the party in October 1966. Similarity of background brought about a large degree of cohesiveness in the party, and originally brought Newton and Seale together. Huey P. Newton, born in 1942 in Louisiana, moved with his family to California in 1945. He grew up in the ghettoes and lived a life similar to the other black youths in ghettoes around the country. Rarely was he given a chance to do skilled labor. By the time he attended Merritt College, he had a reputation as a "tuff" guy. According to Marine, One thing that distinguished Newton from other "tuffs", though, was "his ability to articulate ideas, organize, and get things done."
Bobby Seale also grew up in poverty. As a young man he joined the Air Force, where he received important arms and tactical training. Seale was later court-martialed and found himself unable to hold a job. This background created a hostility and aggressiveness that helped to shape his ideals and character. It was later while attending Merritt College that Seale met Newton.
While attending Merritt College, Newton and Seale studied the great revolutionaries such as Marx, Fanon, Lenin, and Malcolm X. It was here that they formed the political and social philosophies that would later shape the Black Panther Party.
In October 1966, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale developed the Black Panther Party. Together they drew up a ten-point program entitled 'What We Want.' They also put together 26 rules governing the behavior of members. A unified membership was also very important to the success of the Panthers. Keeping this in mind, consideration of recruits would follow certain guidelines. According to Seale, Newton "wanted brothers off the block- brothers who had been pimping, brothers who had been peddling dope, brothers who ain't gonna take no *censored*, brothers who had been fighting the pigs."
The party was quick to begin activities, and in December 1966, proclaims Calloway, the Black Panthers "aroused excitement in Oakland, California by 'picking up the gun' and patrolling the police." They attempted to explain (persuade) to anyone who would listen that legal patrols of police (the following of police in the ghettoes by armed black panthers) was a first step in improving the condition of black life. The firearms they carried were legal, and people were beginning to take notice. As a result, a bill was introduced in early 1967, just a few months after the...