The Black Panther Party
What was the Black Panther Party for Self Defense? During the turbulent 1960’s, the Black Panther party was initially established to protect the black community from police brutality. The Black Panther Party grew its membership by appealing to the sense of hopelessness in black American people. Although widely known for violence, the Black Panther Party had goals to organize and service the black and oppressed communities.
Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale wrote an outline for the BPP, the Ten Point Program, which set the objective for members to follow. The BPP seemed to grow in membership for all the wrong reasons. Despite their reputation, the BPP did manage to successfully put into effect many survival programs within black and minority communities.
The Black Panther Party was an African American organization founded to promote equality for minorities through political, social and economic means.
The Black Panther Party was co-founded in October 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. It was originally named the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Huey Newton believed that there was a lot of police brutality happening to black Americans. The founders were concerned about racism in the police departments. They felt that the people should defend themselves both physically, with guns, and with the law. They wrote the Ten Point program in 1966 as the manifesto for members to live by. It consisted of two parts – What we want and What we believe. (refer to hand-out) The Black Panther Party believed in a ten point program that outlined the primary goals and mission of the entire organization. “The fact remains that their ten point program enlightened the community and the nation of the needs of the Black Community. It provided a foundation for the Black Panther Party philosophy.”
• We want freedom.
• We want full employment for our people.
• We want an end to the robbery by the capitalists of our black and oppressed communities.
• We want decent housing, fit for the shelter of human beings.
• We want decent education for our people…
• We want completely free health care for all black and oppressed people
• We want an immediate end to police brutality…
• We want an immediate end to all wars of aggression
• We want freedom for all black and oppressed people now held in U.S. federal, state, county, city and military prisons and jails…
• We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace and people’s community control of modern technology.
In addition to the program, Newton and Seale came up with a uniform. The group took on an image of “Black Power” wearing black pants, black leather jackets, blue shirts and black berets. The BPP would appear in large groups and threaten violence. In May 1967, the BPP marched on the legislature in California. They were fully armed and attended a legislative hearing on gun control. They were protesting the Mulford Act, a bill that would ban the display of loaded weapons....