The Black Panther Party
The Black Panthers came into existence in 1966 following the assassination of Malcolm X as a response to police brutality in the African American community.
In addition to confronting Police Brutality in local communities like Oakland, the Black Panther Party ran social programs in minority communities, like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.
These programs included a very successful Free Breakfast Program for children at Schools.
Founders Bobby Seale and Huey Newton were influenced by Marxism and crystallised their goals in what they called a Ten Point Program which called for an immediate end to Police Brutality, better employment, housing and Social Welfare for minorities.
As part of the Black Power Movement, the Party also encouraged Black self-love and unity.
Nevertheless, leaders like Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver were all involved in violent confrontations and shootouts with the Police.
The Panthers’ activities meant Black self-determination and this made them a target of the FBI’s COINTELPRO Program.
In 1969 the FBI regarded the Black Panthers as a Communist Organisation and enemy of the United States Government, intensifying efforts to undermine and disrupt the Panthers’ Social activities like the successful Free Breakfast Program.
Government pressure intensified leading to the infamous murder Party members like Fred Hampton while asleep.
In addition, persecution and trials continued like the infamous ‘Pather 21’ Trial in which Tupac’s mother was a Defendant.
The effect of all the COINTELPRO harassment was to exert such intense pressure on the Panthers that the members disbanded as the Party was officially dissolved in 1982.
Although a New Black Panther Party was formed in 1989, it has not had the same impact as the 1960s Black Panther Movement which was ultimately a casualty of the US Government’s Counterintelligence program.
In Black Panther Party: Vanguard Of The Revolution, we get an intimate portrayal of the role of the Black Panther Party in the struggle for Black and Minority Self-Determination in the United States.