In October, 1966, in Oakland, California, the Black Panther Party, for Self-Defense was founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. The Black Panthers fought to establish revolutionary socialism through the process of mass organizing and community based programs, such as their 10 point platform and program. The name was shortened from Black Panther party for Self-Defense to the Black Panther Party (BPP) and the word began spreading eastward through the Black urban ghetto colonies all throughout the country.
The BPP its original name, the Black Panther Party for Self-defense was quickly stereotyped as purveyors of violence. To the white racists, The Panthers were resembled as outlaws, white-hating thugs, which couldn't all be true. The BPP named themselves after the Black Panther, for a very good purpose, a very appropriate one for black people. Bobby seal stated "It is not the panthers true nature to attack anyone first, but when he is attacked and backed into a corner, he will respond viciously and wipe out the aggressor." The Panthers would arm themselves with weapons necessary to defend themselves. They would protect black ghetto citizens from police harassment and brutality. Panthers would arrive on this kind of scene, bearing their rifles and law books, so they could quote the section of the legal code being violated by the police, this way the Panthers had a reason to be defending the people and themselves.
Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, were deeply fascinated in Malcolm X, and his emphasis self defense. His efforts to lead the struggle for freedom By Any Means necessary Inspired the Party greatly. They frequently quoted his famous statement, they believed appropriate for there condition: We should be peaceful law-abiding, but the time has come to fight back in self-defense when ever and wherever the black man is being unjustly and unlawfully attacked. If the government thinks I am wrong for saying that, then let the government do its job. The BPP were all intrigued with Malcolm X and his different theories to gain human equality. He had represented both a militant revolutionary, with the dignity and self-respect to stand up and fight to win equality for all oppressed races, nationalities, while he also stood as an outstanding role model. He was a man who sought to bring about positive social services, something the BPP would take to new heights in society.
Panthers also instituted armed patrols. This was legal and the Panthers carefully avoided violated any laws. When ever the police were caught harassing ghetto residents, just as stated earlier, the panthers would rush to the scene, with their rifles and law books. If any arrested to made at that scene, other Party members would always try to raise bail money. Each Panther member always made sure to look out after one another.
On October 15, 1967, the BPP wrote a 10 point program. 10 points of what they wanted and believed in. This platform and program was the Black Panthers goal to achieve for all blacks across America. When the words were spread, and the platform was published, it soon became known all throughout the ghetto streets and around the U.S.
What we believe
1. We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black Community.
We believe that black people will not be free until we are able to determine our destiny.
2. We want full employment for our people.
We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the white American businessmen will not give full employment, then the means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.
3. We want an end to the robbery by the white man of our Black Community.
We believe that this racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules was promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of black people. We will accept the payment as currency which will be distributed to our many communities. The Germans are now aiding the Jews in Israel for the genocide of the Jewish people. The Germans murdered six million Jews. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of over twenty million black people; therefore, we feel that this is a modest demand that we make.
4. We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings.
We believe that if the white landlords will not give decent housing to our black community, then the housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that our community, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for its people.
5. We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society.
We believe in an educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of self. If a man does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and the world, then he has little chance to relate to anything else.
6. We want all black men to be exempt from military service.
We believe that Black people should not be forced to fight in the military service to defend a racist government that does not protect us. We will not fight and kill other people of color in the world who, like black people, are being victimized by the white racist government of America. We will protect ourselves from the force and violence of the racist police and the racist military, by whatever means necessary.
7. We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people.
We believe we can end police brutality in our black community by organizing black self-defense groups that are dedicated to defending our black community from racist police oppression and brutality. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives a right to bear arms. We therefore believe that all black people should arm themselves for self defense.
8. We want freedom for all black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails.
We believe that all black people should be released from the many jails and prisons because they have not received a fair and impartial trial.
9. We want all black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their black communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.
We believe that the courts should follow the United States Constitution so that black people will receive fair trials. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives a man a right to be tried by his peer group. A peer is a person from a similar economic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, historical and racial background. To do this the court will be forced to select a jury from the black community from which the black defendant came. We have been, and are being tried by all-white juries that have no understanding of the "average reasoning man" of the black community.
10. We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace. And as our major political objective, a United Nations-supervised plebiscite to be held throughout the black colony in which only black colonial subjects will be allowed to participate for the purpose of determining the will of black people as to their national destiny.
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly, all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to supper, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariable the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
When the BPP party was first found there was six original members, and eleven members of the Central committee. Below is a list of names of the Original members.
The Six orginal Panther members Panthers (November, 1966) Top left to right: Elbert known as the "Big Man" Howard, Huey P. Newton the Defense Minister, Sherman Forte, Bobby Seale the Panthers Chairman. Bottom: Reggie Forte and Little Bobby Hutton the Treasurer.
The BPP also provided a helpful program for hungry ghetto children. They provided free breakfast's for the children. This program gave others a different perspective of the party. Not that they were violent revolutionaries, but also, a group that cared about the lives of thier children.
Aaaww..Who woulnd't want to feed such an adorable face?
Later in time, Newton and Seale broke with Cleaver, the minister of Information, who continued to support black revolution instead of community programs. Cleaver, had later became the leader of the BPP. Newton became debilitated by his horrible use of cocaine and other drugs,and finally in 1974 he fled to Cuba to avoid the criminal charges of drug use. In that same year, Seale resigned from the party. Soon Elaine Brown, became the new leader of the BPP, and along with the men and women of the oarty, she kept them going. On August 22, 1989, Huey Newton is killed on the streets of Oakland in a drug dispute.
Front Center: Bobby Seale