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The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

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Originally called the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense the Black Panther Party was first founded in 1966 by Huey Newton amid the mass hate towards the black community like MLK and Malcolm X. Eventually, Newton adopted a Marxist POV about the liberation of oppressed depends on regaining control of their communities after reading about and discussing leaders like Mao Zedong and Che Guevara. This POV lead to the Panthers to hold alliances with radical whites, Chicanos and 3rd world groups. The Panthers adopted 2 main programs, one of them was the Panthers organized a military-like group to patrol the police in black communities. Sometimes even taking arms in defense against police brutality. The other program was invested in the benefit of the community, for example, serving breakfast for children and medical clinics. Because of these programs, the Black Panther Party grew rapidly across the US and caught the attention of the FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. In 1967 Hoover launched a counterintelligence program against the Black Panther Party to make an end to the Black Panther Party.

According to www.vault.fbi.gov The Black Panther Party is a black extremist group which “advocated the use of violence and guerilla warfare tactics”.On October 28th, 1967 the Black Panther Party was in a decline of growth when leader Huey Newton was arrested and charged with the murder of a police officer which was then later reversed on appeal in 1970. In 1968 former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leader Stokely Carmichael was asked to attend “free Huey” rallies by leaders at the time Cleaver and Seale. Carmichael instead challenged the leadership of Cleaver, Carmichael’s POV which emphasized racial unity instead of the Panthers POV which was to emphasize lower class struggle and attract white leftist. Other altercations between Carmichael and the Panthers led to a period of violence within the black activist community like for example in 1969 when 2 groups of activist were involved in a shootout on UCLA campus and leaving 2 panthers dead.In the early 1970’s the Panthers were in another decrease of growth when they were weakened by legal problems and attacks.

Newton was released in 1970 and tried to revive the Panther party by focusing on bringing the community’s together like they once were with free breakfast programs and participation in electoral politics. This attempt to revive the party resulted in a failure and in the mid-1970’s many of the veterans were either expelled from the group or deserted and while all of this happened Newton fled away to Cuba due to serious criminal charges. Newton later returned to the US in 1989 but was killed in a drug-related accident.

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