The 45th Anniversary Of The Black Panthers
“Move on over, or we’ll move on over you!” Black Panther Party phrase.
Although they are not the first organization to be named the ‘Black Panthers’ – nor are they the first to utilize the fierce feline as its representative – the self-determining political party established by Oakland, California’s Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton during October 1966 is usually the most familiar one to the masses.
This past weekend in Oakland, and at local Chapters nation-wide, the Black Panther Party commemorated 4 and-a-half decades of empowering their communities by providing clothing, food, and information regarding their rich heritage, as well as of their constitutional and human-rights; which were consistently being violated.
“There’s no reason for the establishment to fear me… but it has every right to fear the people collectively – I am one with the people,” Huey once proclaimed. “I have the people behind me, and the people are my strength.”
Inspired by other political organizations which preceded it, like R.A.M. [the Revolutionary Action Movement], and S.N.C.C. [Snick – Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] – which previously utilized the attacking Black cat as its logo – the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense committed itself to education and combating police terrorism in their oppressed communities.
The Black Panther Party is regularly regarded as the offspring of Malcolm X/El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, due to the fact that the revolutionary group formed partly as a result of his government-assisted assassination.
Additionally, their call for Black Nationalism and being a self-determining people , as opposed to attempting to assimilate with the enemy, are just a couple of the very same principles inspired by the ex-Nation Of Islam minister.
“Any unarmed people are slaves, or are subject to slavery at any given moment,” determined Newton.
Knowledge and comprehension of the U.S. Constitution was/is a must for members of the revolutionary political party. By doing so they learned that the 2nd Amendment grants all U.S. citizens the ‘right to bear arms’, which Panthers overtly did.
“On the one hand, the guns were there to help capture the imagination of the people, but more important, since we knew that you couldn’t observe the police without guns, we took our guns with us to let the police know that we have an equalizer,” bragged a young BPP Chairman, Bobby Seale.
This planted much fear in the ruling elitist, as they witnessed Black men unashamedly armed with knowledge and other heavy artillery, clad in black berets and leather jackets, while clutching their weapons.
“The Black Panther Party, without question, represents the greatest threat to internal security of the country,” commented concerned F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover, who dedicated many years to destroying the youth-orientated group.
Through his devious and divisive tactics, Hoover abused his power by way of the ‘counter-intelligence-program’ a.k.a. ‘COINTELPRO’; to secretly follow, wire-tap, otherwise monitor, frame-up, lock-down, and murder Panthers. F.B.I. agents forged letters threatening certain members’ lives, mail it to them, creating dissention amongst the group who thought the messages were legit… causing them to fight and kill one another.
According to ‘cointel.org’, under ‘COINTELPRO – Black Nationalist Hate Groups (1967-71)’, the purpose of the clandestine program is to:
Huey P. Newton Interview
“1. Prevent the coalition of militant Black Nationalist groups. In unity there is strength; a truism that is no less valid for all its triteness. An effective coalition of Black Nationalist groups might be the first step toward a real “Mau Mau” in America, the beginning of a true Black revolution.”
“2. Prevent the rise of a “black messiah” who could unify, and electrify, the militant Black Nationalist movement. Malcolm X might have been such a “messiah;” he is the martyr of the movement today.”
Under COINTELPRO, pigz were being murdered by covert killers from the U.S. government… then Panther members would be railroaded and incarcerated for the homicides, and even murdered at their hands.
A lot of Panthers suffered dearly… those that weren’t senselessly massacred by the pigz, like… Fred Hampton, Bobby Hutton & Zayd Shakur; were framed on trumped-up charges and hit with sentences which resembled football scores… 10-15, 20-25, 30 plus years… such as Dhoruba bin Wahad, Geronimo Pratt, Mumia Abu Jamal, Sekou Odinga and Sundiata Acoli. Thousands more remain incarcerated ‘til this day.
“You can jail a revolutionary, but you can’t jail the revolution!” defiantly asserted Huey.
Many Panthers were placed in solitary confinement for inhumane prolonged periods of time in efforts to break their spirits, as well as to stop them from socializing and sparking others into being revolutionaries.
Despite the turbulence throughout the 1960s & ‘70s, the Black Panthers positively influenced their communities by implementing the free-breakfast, free-lunch, free-clothing, free-medical clinics/supplies programs which are now common across the country. They sought to uplift their people and provide proper education, health & nourishment for the youth.
“The revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution,” noted Newton.
Popular entertainers such as Jimi Hendrix, Danny Glover and Tupac Shakur were once either a part of, or affiliated with, the Black Panther Party. Legendary movie director Melvin Van Peebles did a full featured film in 1995 titled ‘Panther’, based on the organization.
While many Panthers have gone underground, living in exile; the organization still thrives on today.
Some prominent Black Panthers include: Jamil Al-Amin/H. Rap Brown, Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael, Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Mutulu Shakur and EldridgeCleaver; just to mention a few.
“To have celebrated the 45th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party was a good thing because for those who joined it, and for many people who didn’t join, it was the greatest organizational vehicle that Black people have created for attaining their freedom,” deems Brother Tarik Haskins, an original Black Panther. “For many Black people the Panther Party embodied and exhibited Black people’s best characteristics: intelligence, courage, power, decisiveness and it clearly said we are Black Africans. Power to the people!”
Dave White, co-founder of the BPP’s Harlem chapter concluded:
“I am one of the original members of the Black Panther Party, along with Teddy Wilson, Sam Anderson, Eddie Ellis and Max Stanford, along with a few others; we started here in New York in June of 1966… Even though we are gray-haired now we will always be Black Panthers because the Black Panther is in our body and our heart!”
For more on the The Black Panthers, log on here.
Written By Ice Pick Slim 17
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