Black Panthers Essay, Research Paper
Today I’d like to tell you about a group of people who over the years have gained a bad reputation in the world for simply telling the truth and trying to fit into a society which rejects them and rejects the truth itself. The group that I am referring to is the Black Panthers. Most people perceive the Black Panthers as being a type of white hate group that despise white people and doesn’t want anything to do with them. This perception is due mostly to the government and what they tell you to believe about this certain group of people. In reality, the Panthers preached equality, self-defense, and the civil and human rights of black people. So today I’d like to help you understand a little more about the Black Panthers with information I’ve gathered from The Struggle for Black Equality and the Encyclopedia of Black America.
The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was founded in October 1966 in Oakland, California by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. Seale was from Dallas and Newton from Monroe, Lousiana. They both met while attending Merritt Junior College in Oakland in the early 60’s. The Black Panther Party’s main goals were to end police brutality and strengthen black communities through organization and education. In October 1966, the Panthers made their rules and regulations known to everyone. They were called the ten-point platform. The main points of the platform were that the Black Panthers believed that they should be able to choose their own destiny, that every man should be employed by the government to be able to support himself and his family, and that no black man should serve in any military branch. They refused to fight for a government that does not treat them as full citizens of the United States. The Black Panthers may have seemed like they were revolting against America, but they were only doing what they felt was right. A major difference between the Black Panther Party and other black nationalist groups of the day is that they believed their mother country was America, not Africa. They felt like they belonged in America, but were being oppressed.
One of the areas in which the Black Panthers contributed to the Black Liberation Movement was self-defense of other blacks. This is what separated them from other black organizations. In the 1960’s, the Panthers used guns not for senseless violence, but for self-defense. They carried guns around like wallets to protect any black person that was being mistreated. They also carried guns to protect themselves from police brutality that often occurred. The Black Panther Party knew that if used correctly, it could give them a huge advantage over their oppressors in the Black Liberation movement.
One of the things that attracted blacks to join and support the party was its policy of doing something for the people. The Black Panthers organized community programs such as free breakfast for children, free clothes drives, campaigns to stop drugs and crime, and a whole lot more. They made the country understand that it wanted to make America a safer, better place.
The Panthers also made significant contributions to the art of propaganda. They found ways to spread their messages and ideas across to the citizens of America such as its newspaper, mass rallies, speaking tours, slogans, posters, and even funerals. They even had enough power to spread its ideas on television and the radio. The main idea the Black Panthers had to spread was that, “We were human, we were ready for equality, and we were equal to whites”.
A lot of people disapproved of the Black Panthers methods, but the main person was J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover was the director of the FBI during the Black Panther era and according to Hoover, they were “the number one threat to the internal security of the nation.” The FBI then labeled the Black Panther Party as “black racists.” Hoover and the FBI used a form of McCarthyism against the Panthers. According to Websters dictionary, McCarthyism is personal attacks by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges. Hoover called this black propaganda. The main point of this black propaganda was to make the Black Panthers look like a bad influence for all people. For instance; the FBI made coloring books that had horrible images of all sorts of things and blamed it on the Panthers. The FBI also went after people who supported the party. Finally, they raided Panther headquarters around the country in such places as Detroit, Chicago, and Philadelphia. This all led to the beginning of the end of the Black Panthers and everything they had done for black people.
In the end, the Panthers were ultimately unable to live down the negative presentation and were eventually shut down by government forces. Hoovers issue to “neutralize” members of the Black Panthers and the arrests of hundreds of party members eventually spelled out the demise of the party. Nevertheless, the Black Panthers made a lasting impression on the nature of not only black nationalism and civil rights, but they helped create and motivate thousands of young, lower-class citizens to stand up for their human rights while helping to redefine the New America.