. Newton an Bobby Seale8April03History 204In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
was awarded the Nobel Peace Prizefor his nonviolent methods of attempting to attain change for americanBlacks through leadership. Nonviolence had achieved success with the CivilRights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Segregation and thebarriers set up for american Blacks to keep them from voting were seeminglyeasier to overcome than were the issues of inferior public services such asschooling and prejudice. Many american Blacks decided by the middle of the1960’s that the civil rights movement as headed by Dr. Martin Luther KingJr. had not altered their lives to the extent of acceptable living.
Theyfelt that the focus should be placed more on their equality socially andeconomically than on their equality politically. As a result, americanBlacks began to gravitate towards a more direct form of action to receive amore direct form of change quicker than it had come about through Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.’s methods.
Black militancy emerged in the middle and late 1960’s. Black leaderslike Floyd McKissick. The national director of the Congress of RacialEquality (CORE) and Stokely Carmichael, the elected chairman of theSouthern Christian Leadership Conference (SNLC) were both leaders whopreached the doctrine of Black Power. Black Power was more than just a fad.It was an ideal that appealed to many American Blacks that were tired ofwaiting for the gradual effects of nonviolent practices to occur. Itencouraged american Blacks to build themselves up by establishing powerbases, solidifying Black communities into political blocs. This was anattempt to force improvement of the treatment of american Blacks. Thedoctrine required american Black leaders to unify and lead, in a sense,become directly responsible to their followers.
A very important digressionfrom Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent teachings in the Black Powerdoctrine was the calling for american Blacks to meet offensive violencewith defensive violence. They believed that Americans wouldrespectamerican Blacks standing with guns in their hands to defend themselvesrather than kneeling passively as the oppressed.In October of 1966, The Black Panther Party for Self – Defense wasfounded in Oakland, California by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale while theywere both student activists at Merritt Junior College.
Under the influenceof Malcolm X, the nationalist struggles in theThirdWorld,andrevolutionaries such as Fidel Castro, and Mao Tse Tong, their major goal infounding The Black Panther Party for Self – Defense was to protect theamerican Black community from the treatment by White police actions whichwere deemed brutal. The Black Panther Party for Self – Defense differedfrom other groups with its message of “revolutionary intercommunalism.”This was essentially a socialist way of approaching issues within acommunity, where all shared in the responsibility ofbuildingthecommunity. During the mid 1960’s, The Black Panther Party for Self -Defense called for american Blacks to take control oftheirhighunemployment, bad housing, police brutality, poor health care, inferiorpublic schooling system and oppressive police forces. During the late1960’s, The Black Panther Party for Self – Defense replaced the BlackMuslims as the most feared and publicized american Black extremist group.They encouraged the use of weapons for both self – defense and for self -offense against people that were believed to be oppressing them. While manybelieved that The Black Panther Party for Self – Defense instilled inamerican Blacks a sense of pride that was very much needed, the FederalBureau of Investigations (FBI) called them the “most dangerous and violenceprone of all extremist groups” after FBI chief J.
Edgar Hoover assigned aspecial task force to monitor the party’s actions after he determined theywere too radical. However, Seale says of The Black Panther Party for Self -Defense: “People still believe we are what the FBI tried to paint us as: ablack, militant hate group.” The Black Panther Party for Self – Defense wasa group that favored violent revolution, if necessary, to bring aboutchanges that they deemed mandatory to the equal treatment of americanBlacks.
In time, The Black Panther Party for Self – Defense dropped the”Self – Defense” label from its name and became known as simply The BlackPanther Party.The Ten-Point Program was drafted on October 15, 1966 by Huey P.Newton and Bobby Seale and formed the foundation of ideology for the BlackPanther Party. It became the list of demands of the party and the goals ofthe struggle to regain their american Black communities and demanded equalrights for the minorities in The United States. The Ten – Point Programread as follows:” We Want Freedom. We Want Power To Determine The DestinyOf Our Black Community.
. We believe that Black people will not be freeuntil we are able to determine our destiny.. We Want Full Employment ForOur People. We believe that the federal government is responsible andobligated to give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believethat if the White American businessmen will not give full employment, thenthe means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed inthe community so that the people of the community can organize and employall of its people and give a high standard of living..
We Want An End ToThe Robbery By The Capitalists Of Our Black Community. We believe that thisracist government has robbed us, and now we are demanding the overdue debtof forty acres and two mules. Forty acres and two mules were promised 100years ago as restitution for slave labor and mass murder of Black people.
We will accept the payment in currency which will be distributed to ourmany communities. The Germans are now aiding the Jews in Israel for thegenocide of the Jewish people. The Germans murdered six million Jews. TheAmerican racist has taken part in the slaughter of over fifty million Blackpeople; therefore, we feel that this is a modest demand that we make.. WeWant Decent Housing Fit For The Shelter Of Human Beings.
We believe that ifthe White Landlords will not give decent housing to our Black community,then the housing and the land should be made into cooperatives so that ourcommunity, with government aid, can build and make decent housing for itspeople.. We Want Education For Our People That Exposes The True Nature OfThis Decadent American Society. We Want Education That Teaches Us Our TrueHistory And Our Role In The Present-Day Society. We believe in aneducational system that will give to our people a knowledge of self.
If aman does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and theworld, then he has little chance to relate to anything else.. We Want AllBlack Men To Be Exempt From Military Service.
We believe that Black peopleshould not be forced to fight in the military service to defend a racistgovernment that does not protect us. We will not fight and kill otherpeople of color in the world who, like Black people, are being victimizedby the White racist government of America. We will protect ourselves fromthe force and violence of the racist police and the racist military, bywhatever means necessary.. We Want An Immediate End To Police Brutality AndMurder Of Black People. We believe we can end police brutality in our Blackcommunity by organizing Black self-defense groups that are dedicated todefending our Black community from racist police oppression and brutality.The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives a rightto bear arms.
We therefore believe that all Black people should armthemselves for self- defense.. We Want Freedom For All Black Men Held InFederal, State, County And City Prisons And Jails. We believe that allBlack people should be released from the many jails and prisons becausethey have not received a fair and impartial trial.. We Want All BlackPeople When Brought To Trial To Be Tried In Court By A Jury Of Their PeerGroup Or People From Their Black Communities, AsDefinedByTheConstitution Of The United States. We believe that the courts should followthe United States Constitution so that Black people will receive fairtrials.
The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives a man aright to be tried by his peer group. A peer is a person from a similareconomic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, historical andracial background. To do this the court will be forced to select a juryfrom the Black community from which the Black defendant came. We have been,and are being, tried by all-White juries that have no understanding of the”average reasoning man” of the Black community.. We Want Land, Bread,Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice And Peace.
When in the course ofhuman events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the politicalbands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among thepowers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws ofnature and nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions ofmankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them tothe separation. We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men arecreated equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certainunalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit ofhappiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted amongmen, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that,whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it isthe right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a newgovernment, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing itspowers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect theirsafety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments longestablished should not be changed for light and transient causes; andaccordingly, all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed tosupper, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishingthe forms to which they are accustomed.
But, when a long train of abusesand usurpations, pursuing invariable the same object, evinces a design toreduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty,to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their futuresecurity.”The Black Panther Party worked to bring about the grievancesdiscussed in Newton and Seale’s Ten Point Program. Under the direction ofHuey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, every Black Panther Party chapter set upfree breakfast programs for young children.
They are presently feedingsomewhere over 5,000 children per week. The food was pressured out ofbusinessmen raking the profits from the ghettoes and from contributions toThe Black Panther Party from residents and friends. Medical clinics werealso set up by every chapter. The clinics were viewed as a necessity inblack communities which are desperately in need of the most elemental care.
For children of all ages, liberation schools, as they were known by TheBlack Panther Party were established to counter-balance theracist,stultifying education that american Black children encountered everyday intheir public schools. Community control of the police was a major issue forThe Black Panther Party and in numerous cities, there was engagement inpetition drives seeking community, local control and decentralization ofthe police force. Free clothing drives were also enacted to distribute oldbut still good clothing to the neediest of american Black families. Armedself defense was a major policy wherein all members were taught the use andnecessity of armed self defense, not only of themselves but for the entireamerican Black community Thus, if a family was threatened, or young kid wasbeaten up, The Black Panther Party could be immediately called.A very important practice of The Black Panther Party was the sale anddistribution of the Panther Paper from which most of their revenue wasderived Seventy – five thousand papers were distributed and the PantherPaper was viewed as a national American Black community newspaper. TheBlack Panther Party made significant contributions totheartofpropaganda.
It was very adept at spreading its message and ideas throughits newspaper The Black Panther mass rallies, speaking tours, slogans,posters, leaflets, cartoons, buttons, symbols (such as the clenched fist),graffiti, political trials, and even funerals. The Black Panther Party alsospread its ideas through very skillful use of the television, radio, andprint media.In all their programs, The Black Panther Party stressed puttingsocialism into practice, meeting people’s real needs, and educating them tothe necessity and possibility of revolution.As a response to themilitancy of The Black Panther Party, the FBI formed a team under thesupervision called COINTELPRO to prevent them from uniting and growing inpower. Black Panther Party local chapters were infiltrated by informantsand their offices were raided on many occasions. The Black Panthers and thepolice force were often involved in many shoot – outs against each other.
Shoot – outs occurred in California, New York and Chicago. On one occasion,Black Panther Party member and Illinois state leader, Fred Hampton and MarkClark were killed by police during a raid, and in 1967, Black Panther Partyfounder and Minister of Defense, Huey Newton was sent to prison formanslaughter after an Oakland shoot – out between The Black Panther Partyand the police left an officer dead. A “Free Huey” movement was born and in1971, a California Court of Appeals reversed his conviction twenty – twomonths later. After he was released, he attempted to keep The Black PantherParty from involving themselves in police conflicts and tried to put morefocus on the aforementioned community programs so that there would be anincrease in support for The Black Panther Party. Bobby Seale was accusedof inciting riots during the 1969 Democratic Party National Convention. Heserved four years in prison.
Despite The Black Panther Party originally denouncing electoralpolitics, it reversed its standpoint and provided the leadership forseveral voter registration drives in the Oakland and Alameda County areabetween 1972 and 1977. In 1973, Bobby Seale ran for the office of Mayor ofOakland. Although he did not win, he not only received forty -three percentof the vote but he also forced the white Republican incumbent into a runoff. His bid for mayor sparked an increase in voter registration andelectoral involvement by american Blacks nationwide.These drives werevery important factors in the elections of Alameda County’s first blacksupervisor, John George, in 1976, and Oakland’s first black mayor, LionelWilson, in 1977.
The Black Panther Party experienced a drop in its membership numbersafter the arrests of its founders. Although both Newton and Seale tried tounify the party after their respective releases, their attempts to workcooperatively with political and social reformists resulted in the movementbecoming too diverse. In 1974, Bobby Seale resigned as chairman of TheBlack Panther Party and started an organization called Youth EmpowermentStrategies. The Black Panthers disbanded by the early 1980’s and in 1989,Huey Newton was killed by a drug dealer in Oakland, California where theentire movement was born. Works CitedAbron, J.
“The Legacy of the Black Panther Party”The Black Scholar.November/December 1986: 33-36.Seale, Bobby. Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party andHuey P. Newton. Black Classic Press: 1997.
Newton, Huey. “In Defense of Self – Defense.” The Black Panther.6 Nov.1968: 12.Carmichael, Stokely & Charles V.
Hamilton. Black Power: The Politics ofLiberation in America.Vintage Books: 1992.