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The Black Panthers, With Interviews From Primary Sources From Oakland

1239 words - 5 pages

A Battle RecommencedThroughout the centuries, man has always tried to triumph over his evils. From religious persecution to social injustices, it is human nature to try to overcome oppression. One such battle was the one against slavery in the 19th century, which was thought to have succeeded in producing freedom for African Americans. But in the upcoming century and throughout the early 1960's, the social, political, cultural, and economic oppression which had started as early as 1619 with the first shipment of black slaves to America, continued and blossomed in various formats. The Black Panther Party for Self Defense was developed because of the need for quicker response to the problems of inequality and the unsuccessful attempts at peaceful protesting by passive resistance groups already formed against the oppression throughout America. The Black Panthers for Self Defense effectively raised awareness of police brutality in the inner city of Oakland and started to show support for all members of the community by organizing civil works projects and elaborate demonstrations in black communities to raise awareness about social, political, and economic injustices.The party began its formation when a black man named Huey Newton became angered with the slow progress of the non-violent civil rights movement during the 1960s under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. This movement has successive failures because of the police attacks at their demonstrations and impotency of their demands. Huey Newton came to identify instead with Malcolm X's ability to utilize his knowledge and street smarts in an aggressive approach to civil rights as well as his leaning towards separate but equal status for blacks. "He knew what the street brothers were like, and he knew what had to be done to reach them (Louis, 18)," Newton remembered. Newton went to some of his closest friends including Bobby Seale, David Hilliard, and Eldridge Cleaver, and together they started the Black Panther Party for Self Defense out of Bobby Seale's living room where they read up on various world philosophies before they developed their own. Their aim was a complete revolution of the oppression African Americans faced in society and envisioned the idea of a total change in the status of a black person in America. "What are revolutionaries? Revolutionaries are changers (Louis, 6)."Dressed in black berets, black leather jackets and powder blue shirts, the Black Panthhers roamed the streets of Oakland waiting and watching for an arrest to occur. When it did, they would stand watching the police officers to make sure that no unjust brutality occurred. During this period, police brutality was a common occurrence and resulted in much antagonism towards the police force as well as the government in general. The body guarding technique to combat the governmental oppression was a calculated maneuver because, though the Panthers were taking a risk at opposing authority, their actions were...

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