The Black Panther Party

The Black Panther Party was a revolutionary political group that formed in the United States in the late 1960s. The Black Panther Party advocated armed resistance and radical organizing to end black slavery and oppression across the country.

The group was formed in California in 1966 by Huey P. Newton, along with several of his close friends, Bobby Seale and David Hilliard. The organizing was a response to the assassination of Malcolm X, uprisings in California, and other tense, racially-charged incidents at the height of the civil rights movement.

The group chose the black panther mascot because of its symbolic power. Their impassioned campaigns for black equality, justice and freedom were aggressive and controversial. One of the most well known efforts was the armed citizen patrols that were formed as a counter to biased and racist police authorities.

The Black Panthers’ desire to overthrow unjust structures and to empower black Americans to rise up against oppression was alienating to some. Criminal (or allegedly criminal) actions of some party members influenced the group’s reputation on a wider scale. The Blank Panthers were monitored by the FBI and considered a national security threat. Much of this relationship was marked by violent clashes and legal battles with government and authorities.

But the Black Panther Party advocated a Ten-Point Program that called for basic and reasonable accommodation, such as food, shelter and education. Their agenda was in some ways a bolstered and broadened anti-poverty strategy, and throughout its existence the party continued to push for social efforts and offerings exclusive of race.

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