Black Panthers

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Black Panther Party for Self Defense

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was founded in October 1966, in Oakland, California by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. Armed with sincerity, the words of revolutionaries such as Mao Tse-Tung and Malcolm X, law books, and rifles, the Black Panther Party fed the hungry, protected the weak from racist police, and presented a Ten Point Platform and Program of Black political and social activism. Its "survival programs"-such as food giveaways, free health clinics and free breakfast programs for children-were popular fixtures in Black neighborhoods in the early 1970s, but for the white power structure and the vast majority of the white public, the Panthers represented only anti-government militancy; a view which engendered the wrath of the police and FBI and led to the murder of several Party members by law enforcement. In time, the Black Panthers dropped the "Self-Defense" label from their name. The organization became more of a Marxist-Communist group that favored violent revolution, if necessary, to bring about changes in society. During the mid-1960's, the Black Panthers called for neighborhood control of such services as education and the police. The Panthers supported the use of guns--both for self-defense and to retaliate against people believed to be oppressing the poor. Hostility between the Panthers and the police led to several shoot-outs. During the late 1960's, the Black Panthers began to work with white radical and revolutionary groups that shared their goals. This policy brought the Panthers into disagreement with some African American groups that regarded the struggle of blacks as chiefly racial. According to the Panthers, the basic problem was economic exploitation of both blacks and whites by profit-seeking capitalists. The Panthers called for a fairer distribution of jobs and other economic resources.

In October of 1967, Huey Newton was shot, arrested and charged with the murder of a white...
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