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Black Panthers - Insert Clever Title Here

Essay by   •  November 4, 2011  •  Case Study  •  2,511 Words (11 Pages)  •  1,942 Views

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Michael Antwi

Black Panthers - Insert Clever Title Here

If history has one thing to say, it is that Revolution is a part of human nature. When a human feels that he/she is under unwanted pressure of any kind, he/she will try to find a way to escape the pressure. Example throughout history suffice evidence: Hebrews escaping the oppression of their tyrannical Pharaoh, Europeans escaping to the New World for religious freedom, even political difference can cause unwanted pressure among humans (a prime example being the Berlin Wall). Humans seem to have an inert desire to live as freely as possible, whether they can achieve it peacefully or other otherwise.

In the late 1900's, racial inequality was finally acknowledge as something in desperate need of change. Of course, just acknowledging something as a mistake is the easiest part of change; the hardest part is to actually change. Many new voices were being hard in this era, preaching equality between all races. Although they themselves believed their words, their actual goal was to persuade the minority's "common enemy"; the white man. Although there were those who continued to use their words to promote equality in a peaceful manner, when change is desired, radical ideas and immediate action are usually favored over traditional methods. And with this mindset, in the mid-1960's, the Black Panthers were born.

Originating as the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, the organization started as just that. It was no secret that there was very blatant discrimination against minorities in America, with African Americans seemingly receiving the full brunt of it. The Party for Self Defense started out as a collection of volunteers who provided community programs for fellow struggling minorities, with the sole intention of helping their fellow man deal with oppression and to obtain what he is entitled to. Their goal was to unite the entire African American race into working similarly like ants in a colony. One of the beliefs of the Panther Party was that their "destiny should be taken by their own hands".

The Black Panthers were an African American revolutionary group that originated in Oakland, California in 1966. Panther's founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale were very fond of socialist and communist practices, so they were quick to attempt to establish a sort of leftish ideology; however, there was never a census as to the proper ideology the party would follow. Instead of arguing as to what philosophy they should follow, the Black Panther Party did what it was founded to do: aid the community. They were known for feeding the hungry through their various meal programs, protecting the weak from corrupt and unjust police officers, and presenting a new prospective to social and political activism to their fellow African Americans. The Panthers were also known to sponsor various events that they called "survival programs", which consisted of food giveaways, free health clinics, and additional free breakfast to children programs. It was at this point where the Panthers physically contributed the most to the community, but their peaceful offerings would not last for long.

Newton and Seale believed that they had been under racial oppression for long enough and it was time to change the society that allowed such oppression. However, a morals a guidelines rulebook was soon made after the establishment of the party; a rulebook that all members happily agreed on known as the "Ten Point Program". Although there were originally 26 points, members felt that these ten highlighted the goals of the Panthers in a clear and logical fashion. These points were made in order to express the political and economic grievances of the Panther Party. The main points that highlighted the goals of the panther party were:

* We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our black and oppressed communities

* We want full employment for our people

* We want an end to the robbery by the Capitalists of our black and oppresses communes

* We want decent housing, fit for the shelter of human beings

* We want decent education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want an education that teaches our true history and our role in present-day society

* We want completely free health care for all black and oppressed people

* We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people, other people of color, all oppressed people of the United States

* We want an immediate end to all wars of aggression

* We want freedom for all black and oppressed people now held in U.S. Federal, State, County, City, and Military prisons and jails. We want trials by a jury of peers for all persons charged with so-called crimes under the laws of this country

* We want land, bread, housing, education, clothes, justice, peace and people community control of modern technology

When they claim "we", the Panthers meant not only the individual members of the Panther Party, but the African American race as a whole. One must wonder what they expected all these royalties would cost their government, and the likelihood that even half of these demands were possible; however, the Panthers demanded them no less. Their platform and its ideals resonated with blacks around the country, especially within the residents of inner cities. Although many of these ideals were rather radical and close to impossible to accomplish, they show that at the core of everything, the Panthers genuinely wished to better themselves and those around them. Unfortunately, even with everything that the Panthers had done for their community, the majority of the white public saw the members as little more than an anti-government militia. Because of this stereotype, Panther members were known to fall victim to wrath of law enforcement officials, even resulting in the death of more than a few members. It was around this time when the "Self Defense" part was dropped from their official title, and the members donned themselves simple as "The Black Panthers".

The Panther group was far from the gun-toting vigilantes that most pictures display them as. And in reference to the many pictures where Panther members are seen wielding shotguns, the California law at the time actually permitted the open wielding of a loaded shotgun or firearm, as long as it was publicly displayed and was pointed at no one. Members of the Panthers believe

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