BLACK PANTHER PARTY In October of 1966, in Oakland California, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. The Panthers practiced militant self-defense of minority communities against the U.S. government, and fought to establish revolutionary socialism through mass organizing and community based programs. The party was one of the first organizations in U.S. history to militantly struggle for ethnic minority and working class emancipation — a party whose agenda was the revolutionary establishment of real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines.
6 ORIGINAL PANTHER MEMBERS Original six Black Panthers (November, 1966) Top left to right: Elbert "Big Man" Howard; Huey P. Newton (Defense Minister), Sherman Forte, Bobby Seale (Chairman). Bottom: Reggie Forte and Little Bobby Hutton (Treasurer).
Demonstration out side court house for the Panther 21 trial - NYC - l969
Cops and Panthers on Court house steps for the Panther 21 trial - NYC - 1969
Kathleen Cleaver… Kathleen Neal Cleaver's impact on the Party was immediate. As the national communications secretary she became the first female member of the Party's decision-making body, the Central Committee. In that role, she served as the Party's spokesperson and press secretary, delivering speeches across the country. In 1968, she organized the national campaign to free the Party's jailed minister of defense, Huey Newton. In that same year she ran unsuccessfully for the California state assembly on the ticket of the Peace and Freedom party. Kathleen Neal Cleaver (1945-) Educator, writer, lawyer, activist Although Kathleen Neal Cleaver first came to the attention of the public because of her relationship with Eldridge Cleaver and the Black Panther Party, she has many accomplishments outside of her relationship with Cleaver for which she is well known.
Bobby Seale, Chairman and co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Hutton Memorial Park, Oakland, California, August 25, 1968.
Black Panthers speaking at University of California, 1968.
December 1966 Bobby Hutton is the first recruit to join the Black Panther Party; he is 16 years old. April 6, 1968 Bobby Hutton is killed during a shootout with police in Oakland. April 12, 1968 Bobby Hutton's funeral is held at the Ephesians Church of God in Berkeley, California; over 2,000 people attend. May 2, 1967 Hutton leads 26 Black Panthers in a march on the State Capitol in Sacramento to protest the new gun bill and all are arrested .
The Black Panther Party Newspaper was arguably the most important documentary source for studying the Black Panthers. It provided a weekly record of the development of the party, and it included contributions from such eminent figures as Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, and Huey Newton.
Many of the problems the Panthers faced during the 1960s and 1970s are regrettably still with us today. Pete O'Neal and his wife Charlotte have been in exile since 1969. Pete O'Neal was head of the Kansas City Chapter of the Black Panther Party and he dynamically and legally challenged the police department for corruption. He was arrested for transporting a shotgun across state lines and, because he recognized the high probability of being killed in prison or locked down like Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt or Marshall Eddie Conway, he (and his wife Charlotte) fled the country settling first in Algeria and then Tanzania. In the three decades since, the O'Neals raised children, learned a new language, and started a community center for Tanzania youth and at-risk Kansas City teenagers. Interested in modern day heroism, I urge you to check out the movie American Exile (2002). It tells Pete and Charlotte's extraordinary story