Posted: October 27, 2016
This month marks the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party. The significant racial challenges in our own time, including the continued killing of unarmed people of color by police, makes the Panthers’ complicated history particularly significant. A little-known lie helped fix the party’s image in the public imagination as a violent, anti-white hate group.
We may be in danger of replicating the same error with regards to the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Founded in Oakland, California, in October 1966 by college students Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense sought to address the police violence and nagging inequalities that punctuated African Americans’ everyday lives. To accomplish their goal, the founders drafted a ten-point program that laid out the Panthers’ blueprint for change.
Far from being anti-white, the party addressed issues of poverty and inequality that most acutely but not exclusively affected communities of color. Newton and Seale were particularly concerned about police brutality, a major problem not only in Oakland but throughout the entire nation. Citing the Second Amendment, point seven of the Panthers’ program directed black people to “arm themselves for self- defense.”
The rigged system holds no future for the 99% a political revolution does. Rise Up Angry…