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Black_Panthers

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Black_Panthers

  1. 1. WHAT WAS THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY? The Black Panther Party was a progressive political organization that stood in the vanguard of the most powerful movement for social change in America since the Revolution of 1776 and the Civil War: that dynamic episode generally referred to as The Sixties. It is the sole black organization in the entire history of black struggle against slavery and oppression in the United States that was armed and promoted a revolutionary agenda, and it represents the last great thrust by the mass of black people for equality, justice and freedom. The Party's ideals and activities were so radical, it was at one time assailed by FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover as "the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States." And, despite the demise of the Party, its history and lessons remain so challenging and controversial that established texts and media would erase all reference to the Party from American history. The Black Panther Party was the manifestation of the vision of Huey P. Newton, the seventh son of a Louisiana family transplanted to Oakland, California. In October of 1966, in the wake of the assassination of black leader Malcolm X and on the heels of the massive black, urban uprising in Watts, California and at the height of the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Newton gathered a few of his longtime friends, including Bobby Seale and David Hilliard, and developed a skeletal outline for this organization. It was named, originally, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. The black panther was used as the symbol because it was a powerful image, one that had been used effectively by the short­lived voting rights group the Lowndes County (Alabama) Freedom Organization. The term "self defense" was employed to distinguish the Party's philosophy from the dominant non­violent theme of the civil rights movement, and in homage to the civil rights group the Louisiana based Deacons for Defense. These two, symbolic references were, however, where all similarity between the Black Panther Party and other black organizations of the time, the civil rights groups and black power groups, ended. Immediately, the leadership of the embryonic Party outlined a Ten Point Platform and Program (see the end of this article for full text). This Platform & Program articulated the fundamental wants and needs, and called for a redress of the long­standing grievances, of the black masses in America, still alienated from society and oppressed despite the abolition of slavery at the end of the Civil War. Moreover, this Platform & Program was a manifesto that demanded the express needs be met and oppression of blacks be ended immediately, a demand for the right to self defense, by a revolutionary ideology and by the commitment of the membership of the Black Panther Party to promote its agenda for fundamental change in America.
  2. 2. WHAT WAS THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY? The Black Panther Party was a progressive political organization that stood in the vanguard of the most powerful movement for social change in America since the Revolution of 1776 and the Civil War: that dynamic episode generally referred to as The Sixties. It is the sole black organization in the entire history of black struggle against slavery and oppression in the United States that was armed and promoted a revolutionary agenda, and it represents the last great thrust by the mass of black people for equality, justice and freedom. The Party's ideals and activities were so radical, it was at one time assailed by FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover as "the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States." And, despite the demise of the Party, its history and lessons remain so challenging and controversial that established texts and media would erase all reference to the Party from American history. The Black Panther Party was the manifestation of the vision of Huey P. Newton, the seventh son of a Louisiana family transplanted to Oakland, California. In October of 1966, in the wake of the assassination of black leader Malcolm X and on the heels of the massive black, urban uprising in Watts, California and at the height of the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Newton gathered a few of his longtime friends, including Bobby Seale and David Hilliard, and developed a skeletal outline for this organization. It was named, originally, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. The black panther was used as the symbol because it was a powerful image, one that had been used effectively by the short­lived voting rights group the Lowndes County (Alabama) Freedom Organization. The term "self defense" was employed to distinguish the Party's philosophy from the dominant non­violent theme of the civil rights movement, and in homage to the civil rights group the Louisiana based Deacons for Defense. These two, symbolic references were, however, where all similarity between the Black Panther Party and other black organizations of the time, the civil rights groups and black power groups, ended. Immediately, the leadership of the embryonic Party outlined a Ten Point Platform and Program (see the end of this article for full text). This Platform & Program articulated the fundamental wants and needs, and called for a redress of the long­standing grievances, of the black masses in America, still alienated from society and oppressed despite the abolition of slavery at the end of the Civil War. Moreover, this Platform & Program was a manifesto that demanded the express needs be met and oppression of blacks be ended immediately, a demand for the right to self defense, by a revolutionary ideology and by the commitment of the membership of the Black Panther Party to promote its agenda for fundamental change in America.
  3. 3. Learning outcome Learning Outcome By the end of the lesson we will have Examined the role that the ‘Black Panthers’ played in the Civil Rights movement
  4. 4. Learning outcome Turn to page 286
  5. 5. Learning outcome Curriculum Vitae Name DOB Occupation Skills/Abilities Qualifications Referees:- Significance:-
  6. 6. Learning outcome Early life Newton was born in Monroe, Louisiana to Amelia and Walter Newton, a sharecropper and Baptist minister; he was the seventh and youngest child in his family. Newton's family moved to Oakland, California when he was three. Despite completing his secondary education at Oakland Technical High School, Newton did not know how to read. During his course of self-study, he struggled to read Plato's Republic , which he understood after persistently reading it through five times. This success, he told an interviewer, was the spark that caused him to become a leader. Founding of the Black Panthers While at Oakland City College, Newton had become actively involved in politics in the Bay Area. He joined the Afro-American Association, became a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Beta Tau chapter, and played a role in getting the first black history course adopted as part of the college's curriculum. He read the works of Frantz Fanon, Malcolm X, Mao Zedong, and Che Guevara. It was during his time at Oakland City College that Newton, along with Bobby Seale organized the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in October 1966. Bobby Seale assumed the role of Chairman, while Huey P. Newton became Minister of Defense.
  7. 7. Learning outcome Huey Newton and the Black Panthers Newton and Seale decided early on that the police's abuse of power in Oakland against African-Americans 'must be stopped.' From his law studies at college, Newton was well-versed in the California penal code and state law regarding weapons, and was thus able to persuade a number of African-Americans to exercise their legal right to openly bear arms (as concealed firearms were illegal). Members of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense bore their rifles and shotguns and began patrolling areas where the Oakland police were said to commit racially-motivated crimes against the community's black citizens. The street patrols had broad support in the local African-American community. Newton and Seale were also responsible for writing the Black Panther Party Platform and Program, derived largely from Newton’s Maoist influences. Newton was instrumental in the creation of a breakfast program feeding hundreds of children of the local communities before they went to school each day. Former Panther Earl Anthony (black panther) said the party was originally created to prepare America for an armed Maoist revolution in order to change the social structure for the benefit of black people. For Black Panthers, this meant the realignment of domestic economic policies to benefit citizens (including those of other races), who were being crushed under the weight of corporate America. Accusation of murder In the predawn hours of October 28, 1967, Newton was stopped by Oakland police officer John Frey, who attempted to disarm and discourage the Panther patrols. But after fellow officer Herbert Heanes arrived for backup, shots were fired, with all three individuals wounded. Frey was hit four times and died within the hour, while Heanes was in serious condition with three bullet wounds. With a bullet wound to the abdomen, Newton staggered into the city's Kaiser Hospital. He was admitted, but was later shocked to find himself chained to his bed. Accused of murdering Frey, Newton was convicted in September 1968 of "voluntary manslaughter", and was sentenced from 2 to 15 years in prison. In May 1970, the California Appellate Court reversed Newton's conviction and ordered a new trial. The State of California dropped its case against Newton after two subsequent mistrials. While Huey was imprisoned, his party's membership had declined significantly in several cities. The FBI, which deployed the counter-insurgency tactics of operation COINTELPRO, had actively campaigned to eliminate the Black Panthers' 'community outreach' programs such as free breakfasts for children, sickle-cell disease tests, free food and free clothing. Funding for several of the programs was raised courtesy of the only independent commerce in the area: drug dealers and prostitution-ring leaders. Bobby Seale later wrote about his belief in Newton’s involvement and attempted takeover of the Oakland drug trade, further claiming that Newton attempted to 'shake down' pimps and drug dealers; as a result, a contract was taken out on Newton’s life. This story, however, was never proven. It is suggested that such mutual paranoia between the long-time friends and party co-founders, Seale and Newton, was created by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. The FBI sent what became known as the "brown" letters — fabricated letters (often bearing death threats) seemingly written by Panthers. The ensuing fear triggered sharp declines in membership, and the eventual failure of the Party.
  8. 8. Learning outcome Curriculum Vitae Name DOB Occupation Skills/Abilities Qualifications Referees:- Significance:-
  9. 9. Learning outcome
  10. 10. Learning outcome Look who’s back in the picture....?
  11. 11. Learning outcome
  12. 12. Learning outcome Source B -We are standing here and we have begged the President, we've begged the federal government, that's all we’ve been doing – begging, begging. It's time we stand up and take over. Stokely Carmichael – speech in 1968 Source A – Black Power members protesting In 1966, after Carmichael had been arrested for the 27th time, he made his famous 'Black Power' speech. He criticised Martin Luther King's belief in non-violent protest, and later Carmichael joined the militant Black Panther Party. The 'Black Power' slogan and clenched fist symbol were adopted by CORE. The slogan and symbol were used by young Black American activists who were no longer willing to take beatings at the hands of White racists. Carmichael also used the slogan 'Black is Beautiful' and he encouraged Black Americans to take pride in their race and colour. His supporters adopted Afro hairstyles, as well as African names, and African forms of dress. Some civil rights activists accused Carmichael of anti-White racism. BACKGROUND INFORMATION We have to do what every group in this country did, we gotta take over the communities where we outnumber people so we can have decent jobs. So we can have decent houses. So we can have decent roads, so we can have decent schools, so we can have decent justice. Source C – Stokely Carmichael – speech
  13. 13. Learning outcome 1.DESCRIBE THE BELIEFS OF BLACK AMERICANS WHO REJECTED THE NOTION OF BLACK POWER 2. WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF STOKELY CARMICHAEL BEING ATTRACTED TO THE MOVEMENT?

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