The Black Panthers
The Black Panthers
The black community has been facing numerous challenges over the years, including police brutality. The Black Panthers or the Black Panther Party (BPP) refers to an organization established to fight against the problem of police brutality facing blacks in the US. It was founded in 1966 in Oakland, California, by two African Americans named Bobby Seale and Huey Newton (Harris 164). Police brutality is a problem that African Americans continue to face even in modern times, and the goal of BPP was to combat it and implement other community programs aimed at meeting the needs of blacks.
Members of the BPP protected African Americans by following police cars patrolling their neighborhoods. During their neighborhood patrols, the BPP members wore an official uniform consisting of black berets and black leather jackets. The members were armed with guns, law books, cameras, and tape recorders (Abu-Jamal 67). It was legal for civilians to carry unconcealed weapons in California at the time. When the police stopped to question blacks, members of the BPP would approach them with their weapons and watch the interaction from a safe distance to ensure that the civilians did not face any harassment.
The BPP came up with a ten-point program to meet the needs of African Americans. The issues covered in the program included the freedom to decide the black community’s destiny, decent housing, an end to murder and harassment of the blacks by the police, full employment, freedom for imprisoned blacks, and exclusion of African Americans from joining the military (Harris 165). Other issues included an end to the robbery by whites, the privilege of blacks to be tried in courts by their peers, and the possession of land, peace, housing, justice, and education. The Black Panthers also implemented numerous community programs in African American neighborhoods to meet their needs.
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