Context Research Task
The Black Panthers
The Black Panthers, originally Black Panther Party for Self Defence, were a Californian; African American revolutionary party formed in Oakland, 1966, founded by Huey Percy Newton and Bobby Seale. Newton and Seale met at the San Francisco School of Law and they created the Black Panther group because of the acts of police brutality and racism towards the Black communities. They believed that Martin Luther King’s non violent campaign failed to work and that the promised changes in their lives would take too long or not even be introduced. The two worked together to create programs to protect black communities from police brutality, improve housing conditions and aid those who suffer from poverty within the black society. They were both willing to express and speak out for the minority groups and those who were mistreated.
The party outlined a Ten Point Platform and Program which ...view middle of the document...
One of the organisations’ purposes was to patrol African American neighbourhoods and protect any residents from the acts of brutality by the police. Soon, all the African Americans in the party were armed; they called for the release of all African Americans from jail and demanded compensation for centuries of slave labour and mass murder of black people by the white Americans.
These armed citizens patrolled the neighbourhood to assess the behaviour demonstrated by the police. This act of “Policing the Police,” proved to others that people of different race and colour are able to stand up to the disadvantages and discrimination of their race. Around 3 years later, the Black Panther Party had over 2,000 members, many people with African American backgrounds wished to join as a response towards the violent acts by the police against people with a certain colour.
During the same time, the Black Panthers began the Free Breakfast for School Children program; the party cooked food and provided it to the underprivileged children before they made their way to school. This program was spread out to many other cities in the US and eventually grew larger and larger until above 10,000 children were fed breakfast every day.
The Black Panthers were an all black group and this caused them to come across many issues other than racism and injustice acts. Violence, police brutality, attacks towards their race and even the FBI were factors which contributed to the hardships that the Black Panthers had to face. In order to split the party up, the FBI under the orders of J. Edgar Hoover began a program with the name COINTELPRO (also known as the counterintelligence program.) The programs the FBI created begin with assassinations of the leading member of the party and numerous arrests which followed the killing acts.
Ultimately, the Black Panthers stood up for their own race, and protested against racial discrimination. The fact that the party were able to fight for their community and race as a whole is why they are now looked upon as heroes by many black Americans.