The Black Panther Movement

Essay by akitaka2314High School, 11th gradeB+, November 2014

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•The Black Panther Party (originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) was an African-American organization established to promote Black Power and self-defense through acts of social agitation. It was active in the United States from the mid-1960s into the 1970s. •Founded in Oakland, California, by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale on October 15, 1966, the organization initially set forth a doctrine calling for the protection of African American neighborhoods from police brutality •While the organization's leaders passionately espoused socialist doctrine, the Party's black nationalist reputation attracted an ideologically diverse membership •The official newspaper The Black Panther was first circulated in 1967. By 1968, the party had expanded into many cities throughout the United States, including Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle and Baltimore. That same year, membership reached 5,000, and their newspaper had grown to a circulation of 250,000 •While firmly grounded in black nationalism and begun as an organization that accepted only African Americans as members, the party changed as it grew to national prominence and became an icon of the counterculture of the 1960s.

The Black Panthers ultimately condemned black nationalism as "black racism". They became more focused on socialism without racial exclusivity. •Inspired by Mao Zedong's advice to revolutionaries in the The Little Red Book, Newton called on the Panthers to "serve the people" and to make "survival programs" a priority within its branches. The most famous and successful of their programs was the Free Breakfast for Children Program, initially run out of an Oakland church. •Other survival programs were free services such as clothing distribution, classes on politics and economics, free medical clinics, lessons on self-defense and first aid, transportation to upstate prisons for family members of inmates, an emergency-response ambulance program, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and...