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The Black Panther Party of Self-Defense

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Lauren Robinson

on 21 March 2014

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Transcript of The Black Panther Party of Self-Defense

The Black Panther Party of Self-Defense
Orthodox School of Thought
The Black Panther Party enforced Black Power ideology through intimidating actions and violent means, which consequently had a negative effect on black and white communities along with the Civil Rights Movement.
"New Views of the Black Panthers Paint Shades of Gray." Chronicle of Higher Education 53, no. 26 (2007): 1-11.

I. The author seeks to provide reasons to justify the violence that the organization employed saying that it was inherent and in retaliation.
"Many Panthers' hostility should surprise no one: Many party members grew up with violence and grinding poverty in their neighborhoods, and the party recruited street-toughened gang members. And, researchers note, violence was done to them, a fact reflected in the group's original name, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense," ( Monaghan, 3).

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised": Community Activism and the Black Panther Party, 1966-1971." Canadian Review of American Studies 41, no.1 (2011): 25-62.
" Panther violence, to be certain, was not unprovoked. Victims of systemic racism and political repression, the Panthers were in many ways responding to the environment that surrounded them," (Kirkby, 7).
" Given the conditions engulfing the Black community - persistent police brutality, high unemployment, decrepit housing, and substandard education - violence was considered an essential tool for defending African Americans against state and federal authorities who systematically kept them in existential devastation," (Kirkby, 32).

History of the Black
Panther Party
The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was formed in Oakland, California in 1966.

Founders: Huey Newton and Bobby Seale
Another influential member: Eldridge Cleaver (1967)
I. Introduction/ Background of BPP
II. Orthodox View
III. Revisionist View
1. “The Black Power Movement: a State of the Field”
-The movement’s destructiveness poisoned the innocence of the New Left, corrupted a generation of black activists, and steered the drive for Civil Rights off course in a way that reinforced segregation by giving politicians a clear, frightening scapegoat.(751)
-Armed with guns, law books, and menacing bravado, the Black Panthers projected a military swagger that made their threats of starting a violent revolution for black liberation seem plausible (762).
2. "The Panthers on Trial" Time. May 11, 1970.
3. "Police and Panthers: Growing Paranoia" Time. December 19, 1969.
"Off the pigs"—kill the police—is a frequent Panther refrain. What the Panthers view as an extermination plot, says one federal official, is the human response of a cop confronted by someone who has publicly vowed to kill him. "That's no plot," the official says. "It's a perfectly natural reaction by a policeman facing someone who has said, even boasted, that he is prepared to shoot it out."
An April issue of the Panther newspaper contained diagrammed "recipes" for Molotov cocktails and "people's hand grenades" —aerosol cans filled with explosives. The paper declared: "All self-defense groups must strike blows against the slave master until we have secured our survival as a people, and if this takes shooting every pig and blowing up every pigsty, then let's get on with it."
"If anything happens to Bobby Seale, there will not be any lights for days in this country. Not only will we burn buildings, we will take lives. We will kill judges."
Revisionist School of Thought
Revisionists argue that the Black Panther Party was entitled to its ideologies because of their tumultuous environments, poor living conditions, and poor treatment due to racial inequalities. The "Survival Programs" were the outlasting benefits of the party's political platform. The Black Panther Party was a radical organization that advocated for the rights of African Americans in the community. Various scholars argue The Black Panther Party was a beacon of hope as evident through their militant tactics and resistance of substandard treatment "by any means necessary" rather than the threat they were fashioned to be.
1966 Aug. 4 | Baldy Editorial Cartoons, 1946-1982, 1997 : Clifford H. Baldowski Editorial Cartoons at the Richard B. Russell Library
3. " Comrades: A Local History of the Black Panther Party." Edited by Judson L. Jeffries. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2007.

*" ...In the process they were demanding that America live up to its promises as it outlined in the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights," (Jeffries, 3).
* " After all, according to the Declaration of Independence, governments are created to serve people, and 'whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness," (Jeffries, 3).

The Ten Point Program demanded decent housing, education, employment, and an end to police brutality.

Also stressed the need for Black Americans to determine their own destiny and to secure self defense by "whatever means necessary."

The death of an Oakland police officer resulted in the arrest of Huey P. Newton which catalyzed a massive movement.

I. The Black Panther Party organized a demonstration at the California State Capitol (May 2, 1967) after learning that the California State Legislature planned to limit the rights to brandish loaded weapons in public places.

II. J. Edgar Hoover once called the Black Panthers "The greatest single threat to the nation's internal security".

FBI & the BPP
Joseph, Peniel E. "The Black Power Movement: A State of the Field." Journal of American History 96, no. 3 (December 2009): 751-776.
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