queens-and-pharaohs: The Black Panther Party …


The Black Panther Party was a political organization founded in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale to combat police brutality against Black Americans. At its peak in 1968, the BPP had approximately 2,000 members. The end of the organization came as a result of internal disorder, shootouts by the police, and government effort to weaken the organization.

Imagine a white cop harassing black people in a black neighborhood. Now imagine a group of black men dressed in all black, with bandoliers slung over their chest and rifles under their arms coming to observe the situation. Cops were intimidated to the point of of leaving the scene, and the Panthers had done nothing illegal. California would later adjust their gun laws so that the Panthers could no longer carry guns as before.

The Black Panther Party promoted natural black beauty, drawing in younger black Americans who liked the idea of wearing their natural hair without judgement and celebrating dark skin.

The Free Breakfast for School Children Program was a community service program run by the Black Panther Party. The Panthers would cook and serve food to poor inner city youth in Oakland, and it became so popular that the Panthers set up kitchens in cities across the country, feeding over 10,000 children every day before they went to school.

The Black Panther Party wasn’t perfect. Sexism was a problem as most women in the organization were relegated to office work. The Party’s eventual demise was kickstarted by Huey Newton’s dedication to the breakfast program and Eldredge Cleaver’s belief that the party should prioritize the “any means necessary” political opposition to U.S. government practices.

The Black Panther Party was not a Black Supremacist group. Its members were dedicated to fighting injustice, not hating white people. In the words of Huey P Newton, “We’ve never advocated violence; violence is inflicted upon us. But we do believe in self-defense for ourselves and for black people.”