Continuing this week’s theme of Civil Rights figures and groups, today’s spotlight is on the Black Panther Party.
- Growing increasingly frustrated with the popular the non-violent movement, a more radical, “by any means necessary” faction of the civil rights movement emerged among African-Americans that was known as the Black Panther Party (originally named the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense).
- Established in 1966, the Black Panther Party emerged during the Black Power movement and was founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, CA.
- Known for their militancy and political provocativeness, the party made their demands and objectives known by crafting a Ten Point Program.
- The party was particularly concerned with protecting African American neighborhoods from police brutality, protesting the banning of weapons and the Vietnam War, providing free breakfast for school children, as well as the political and economic empowerment of the African American community.
- The party eventually expanded to other major cities, including Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York, and others.
- Although other civil rights organizations in the height of the movement were a threat, none was considered as much of a threat like the Black Panther Party. In fact, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was determined, though an “investigative program,” (COINTELPRO) to infiltrate and destroy the organization.
- Despite numerous incarcerations, infiltrations, shifts in leadership, and controversy the party remained highly active until the late 1970s.
To learn more about the Black Panther Party visit: http://www.blackpanther.org/index.html
“Our position was: “If you don’t attack us, there won’t be any violence; if you bring violence to us, we will defend ourselves.” ~Bobby Seale