Black Panthers Essay Research Paper In 1966

Black Panthers Essay, Research Paper

In 1966, the national Black Panther party was created. Their platform and it?s ideals

struck a chord with blacks across the country, especially in the inner cities of the north. The

Panthers were able to organize and unite these blacks. This alarmed the federal government.

They instituted many controversial, illegal programs of harassment, infiltration, and instigation

which led to the deaths of many Panthers.

From their inception, the Black Panthers were treated with disdain and contempt. The

Panthers wrote out a platform called ?What We Want, What We Believe.? There ideas and

methods appealed greatly to blacks. The past few years had seen the civil rights struggle rise, and

had left many blacks with the feeling that not enough was being accomplished. Many Blacks

shared the view of the Panthers in that violence was needed to defend themselves until true

equality could be achieved. Aside from being militant, the Panthers did things that helped the

community. They set up breakfast, and helped people to clean up their neighborhoods. The

Black Panthers gave many urban black communities a sense of unity and identity that they hadn?t

had before.

The Panther?s rhetoric of violence alarmed the government. In March of 1968, the

Panther newspaper printed this warning to police, ?Halt in the name of humanity! You shall make

no more war on unarmed people. You will not kill another black person and walk on the streets

of the black community to gloat about it and sneer at the defenseless relatives of your victims.

From now on, when you murder a black person in this Babylon or Babylons, you may as well give

it up because we will get your ass and God can?t hide you.?1 This gave the government cause for

alarm, and they stepped up their ?efforts? accordingly. The government went through great

lengths to keep up the status quo. They began campaigns of disinformation against the Panthers

in order to stop any support for the Panthers. The Panthers were continuously harassed by police.

Panthers were followed and arrested on minor, sometimes fabricated charges. For Example, in

Oakland California, the headquarters of the Panthers, police would randomly arrest any Panthers.

In 1967, the FBI arrested 21 Black Panthers for ?conspiring? to blow up department stores and

botanical gardens in New York.2

Not only was it local law enforcement that tried to destroy the Panthers, but the FBI was

very actively involved. The FBI had begun using their COINTELPRO program towards the

Black Panthers in November 1968. They had many agents working to surveil, harass and

infiltrate the group. One of the first major actions the FBI undertook was to create a violent

confrontation between the Panthers and the US group. The FBI used different methods, such as

sending satirical cartoons to members of the Panthers under the pretense they were from US.

These cartoons served to further agitate the already volatile situation. An FBI agent said of the

cartoons, ?The BPP members…strongly objected being made fun of be cartoons being distributed

by the US organization (FBI cartoons in actuality)…[Informant] has advised on several occasions

that the cartoons are, ?really shaking up the BPP.?3 Later on, the FBI forged a Panthers name,

and sent a letter to another group of Panthers. This later was intended to spark more hatred and

confrontation between the two groups, which it did.

The FBI?s efforts continued, and were escalated. Their work with the Black Panthers

came to a head on cold December morning in 1969. The FBI had gathered a large amount of

information on the leader of the Chicago Black Panthers, Fred Hampton. Through their sources

within the Panthers, they knew the layout of Fred?s apartment, and when he would be there. At

4:45 in the morning, fourteen police burst through the door, and began shooting the interior of the

apartment. The police wounded four people and killed two. Soon after the Illinois State

Attorney issued a statement that it was the Black Panthers who had mounted the attack on the

police, who had been ?carrying on a search for illegal weapons?. Flint Taylor wrote of the State

Attorney?s statement, ?Hanrahan had a story that Fred was up and firing away at the police in the

back part of the apartment. Well the bed that he was sleeping on had blood all over it – at the

head and at other places. So obviously, that totally disproved the theory that Fred was up, about,

and firing away.?4Upon later investigation, it was discovered that the Panthers had only fired one

shot out of the hundred or so that were fired. It was also discovered that the police had

fabricated evidence to make it appear as if the Panthers had fired upon the police.

In conclusion, . Because the Black Panthers united the black communities within the inner

cities of the United States. This unity threatened the control the government had on these people.

The government used illegal and unethical methods in order to destroy the Black Panthers. Their

deception led directly to the deaths of several Panthers