The Black Panthers Biography

PHOTO: The Black Panthers

The Black Panthers wanted to be the vanguard of a revolution that would create economic, social and political equality across gender and colour lines. Since the non-violent campaign of Martin Luther King had ended in that brave man’s death and little improvement of minority rights, the Panther saw their only option as one of violence. They preached a revolutionary war to the US.

The Panthers were founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in California in 1966. They did not just advocated black uprising and violence. The Panthers worked with all minorities regardless of colour and creed, created a Free Food Program for the hungry, provided free medical care and set up youth bands to encourage pride in the poor communities. The Panthers were providing services that the government would not.

But the Panthers violent call for revolution at the time when the US was truly bloodied in the fight against Communists in Vietnam, immediately drew the attention of the FBI.

Edgar J Hoover, then head of the FBI, called the Panthers “the greatest threat to internal security of the country.” He ordered his officers to take all necessary measures to cripple the group. Snitches infiltrated the movement, reporting to the FBI the whereabouts of the Panthers’ leaders. The FBI arrested 21 regional leaders of the Panthers, the men were held and tried for two years before all charges were dropped and the men released. Dissension, paranoia or fear prevented most of those men continuing the struggle and the movement gradually collapsed.

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