The Black Panther Party
The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was originally formed in Oakland, California in October of 1966, but the name was later changed to just The Black Panther Party. The two original founders of the group were Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. The Black Panther Party came about during one of the most powerful revolutions to ever exist in the United States. The party started during the Civil Rights Movements, which was a major revolution for social change in America. (History of the Black Panthers) The Black Panthers were initially formed to protect local communities from police brutality and racism. The group also ran medical clinics and provided free food to schoolchildren. Within a couple of years the Black Panthers in Oakland were feeding over 10,000 children every day before they went to school. The organization was formed during a time of blatant racism throughout the United States and African Americans could not make as much progress as others in society during this time. Many anti-war sentiments arose due to the Vietnam war which caused many young black people to get sent away to fight, whether they wanted to or not. (Hilliard, 2007) At the street level, the party developed programs in order to provide services the black and poor people needed. Simultaneously, the group was promoting a model for an alternate social scheme. There ended up being more than thirty-five of these programs and they were then referred to as Survival Programs. These programs were managed and run by members of the Black Panthers using the slogan “survival pending revolution.” The first of these programs began in out of a small church and was the Free Breakfast For Children Program, which later was being run out of every chapter throughout America. With this program, thousands of poor and hungry children were fed free breakfast each morning before school or daily activities. This program had such a powerful impact that the federal government was pressured into adding a similar program into public schools across the country. (History of the Black Panthers) Although there were many black organizations against slavery and oppression during this time, the Black Panthers were the only ones to be armed with guns and to promote a revolutionary agenda. This agenda represented the fight and persistence by African-Americans to fight for equality, justice and freedom. Local police and also larger agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation marked all protestors, and since the Black Panther Party was a group of African Americans, their every move was watched and targeted by Law Enforcement. (Zalman) Membership of the party was restricted to African Americans and their ideas were based mainly on socialist principles. The Black Panthers started with an original vision to serve the needs of the oppressed people living in the community and to defend them against the oppressors of that time. The group was well aware that these goals would raise awareness about what was going on and it would motivate people to join in on the revolution and fight for the idea of total liberation. The organization also had clear goals that were defined in the Ten Point Program, which enticed people to become members of the party. (History of the Black Panthers) The Ten Point Program was the bible of the Black Panthers. It was said to be one of the first times African-Americans organized goals and objectives so well. The points within this program were as follows: 1. We want freedom. We want the power to determine the destiny of our black community. 2. We want full employment for out people.
3. We want an end to the robbery by the Capitalists of out black community. 4. We want decent housing fit for the shelter of human beings. 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...
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