Black Panthers Essay

The Black Panthers Essay

The Black Panther party for Self-Defense was an African American organization that was founded to promote civil rights and self-defense. It was active within the United States between the late 1960's into the 1970's. It was founded in Oakland, California by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in October of 1966. The Black Panther Party was originally founded to further the African American civil rights movement and to fill the void in leadership amongst the African American community. The party's original purpose was to patrol the black ghettoes to protect members of the community from police brutality. The Panthers eventually developed into a Marxist revolutionary group that called for the arming of all blacks, the exemption of blacks from the draft and from all sanctions of white America, the release of all blacks from jail, and the payment of compensation to blacks for centuries of exploitation by white Americans. In the late 1960's the Panther's membership exceeded 2,000 and the organization operated chapters in several major cities.
Conflicts between Black Panthers and police in the late 1960's and early 1970's led to shoot-outs in California, New York, and Chicago, one of which resulted in Newton's going to prison for the murder of a patrolman. While some members of the party were guilty of criminal acts, the group was subjected to police harassment that sometimes took the form of violent attacks, prompting congressional investigations of police activities in dealing with the Panthers. By the mid-1970's, having lost many members and having fallen out of favor with many American black leaders, who objected to the party's methods, the Panthers turned from violence to concentrate on conventional politics and on providing social services in black neighborhoods. The party had a powerful influence on the political consciousness of American society, particularly for young urban blacks. Its decline, presided over by Huey Newton, may be attributed to external pressures, such as counterintelligence, arrests, and FBI investigations, and to internal conflicts revolving around leadership, ideological disagreements, violence, and corruption.
The research for my project was very easy. The Woodruff Library had a lot of books on the Black Panther Party. I used all the books that I could find. Most of them had the same information. Others were told from different points of view. It wasn't as easy finding literary journals. The Library database wasn't really helpful because it was hard to find a journal pertaining to the topic. My rationale for selecting my information was basically just availability. It was fairly easy to find information on the Black Panthers Party on the internet but no literary journals.
"Black Power" was slogans of the Black Panther Party back in the 1960's. Black Power was used as the antithesis of white power and the strength to make the white man deal with blacks as people rather than as problems#. The Black Panthers...

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nationalists groups might be the first step toward a real Mau Mau. 2. Prevent the rise of aMessiah who would unify and electrify the Black Nationalists movement” (Van Peebles 75).Hoover is stating that the ultimate goal of the FBI was to just keep African Americans separatedand unable unify. “…to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activitiesof black nationalists hate-type organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen,membership, and supporters” (Wolf, ”

COINTELPRO

”). The FBI doesn’t even want the groupsto form. Both Seale and Newton were both imprisoned many times throughout the Black Panther Party’s ten year lifetime.On March of 1968, Arthur Morris, Bunchy Carter’s brother, along with being the veryfirst member of the Black Panther Party was shot and killed by some United States governmentagents for no apparent reason other than being a Black Panther Party member. In that samemonth, Anthony Coltrale, another Panther member was assassinated by a Los Angeles PoliceDepartment officer in Watts. On December 4

th

1969, Chicago police assassinated two veryimportant Panther members, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Both the FBI and local policedepartments cooperated in extreme and even illegal actions, like raids on the homes of Panther leaders that sometimes did result in deaths. The police of Birmingham, Alabama went as far as toopenly work with Ku Klux Klan members to try and maintain the Black Panthers under control.“Out of the 661 members of the Oakland Police Department only 16 were African American.This lead members of the Black Panthers to believe that the police department had some seriousissues when it came to African Americans (MIA).” Although the slight integration of the police,they were integrating for all the wrong reasons. African Americans were being used in the PoliceForces to spy on the Black Panthers and gain knowledge of future Black Panther actions.Rodriguez 2

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