October 10, 2015

On this day October 10

DARC Ethiophile Chronicles

On this day

October 10, in the year 1966 the Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland CA. by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.

The Black Panther Party for Self Defense was the largest Black revolutionary organization that has ever existed. Famous for taking up guns in defense against police brutality, the Panthers had many others little-known sides to their work. They organized dozens of community programs such as free breakfast for children, health clinics and shoes for children.

Such was their success that they rapidly grew to a size of 5,000 full time party workers, organized in 45 chapters (branches) across America. At their peak, they sold 250,000 papers every week. Opinion polls of the day showed the Panthers to have 90% supports amongst Blacks in the major cities. Their impact on Black America can be measured by the response of the state. J. Edgar Hoover, then head of the FBI described them as “the number one threat to the internal security of the United States”.

The Black Panthers programs and activities, were different from all other organizations, their positive attributes led them to be the inspiration to generations around the world to join the struggle against oppression. The formation of the Panthers was the direct result of the development of the civil rights movement, which had already been in full swing for more than a decade before they were created.

The movement had largely been based in the south and around demands for desegregation of the busses, schools, waiting rooms and lunch counters. Hundreds of thousands had been mobilized to participate in the demonstrations, sit-ins and freedom rides. Both from the police, local white mobs and the Ku Klux Klan, civil rights protesters faced the constant threat of brutal attack or even death. Despite this, the guiding philosophy of the civil rights leaders – in particular Martin Luther King – remained one of civil disobedience and passive resistance.

 

The increasing ferocity of the violence put a great strain on the movement. Contrasting views on a strategy for Black liberation began to emerge. Stokely Carmichael was prominent among those who opposed passive resistance and represented the feelings of a new generation of Blacks who felt that the peaceful approach was played out.

Alongside the mainstream civil rights was another current: much smaller than King’s movement but still with significant numbers were the Black Muslims. The Nation believed in separation instead of integration and was completely opposed to passive resistance. Their radical ideology was appealing but they refused to participate in the civil rights movement or to become involved in the activities of non-Nation members

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