By Carol Bufole

What were the Black Panthers?

The Black Panthers Party (BPP) was an U.S African-American militant party, it was founded on 1966 in Oakland, California by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. The party advocated self-sufficiency, full employment, and decent housing for African-Americans.

What were their purpose?

The original aim of the movement was armed self-defense against the police but that got diluted to violent revolution as the only means of gaining black liberation. They called for black people to arm themselves for the liberation struggle. They did this because they believed that MLK's non-violent campaign didn't bring results fast enough.


The Black Panthers didn't only have an impact in the U.S, they also inspired people from around the world. "The oppressed Dalits in India emulated the rhetoric of the Black Panthers, and the representatives of the Vietnamese National Liberation Front, who called themselves Yellow Panthers, also used the organization as a model" (Duncan). The BPP also gave back to the community with things like a "Free Food Program", "Free Medical Research Health Clinics", and an "Intercommunal Youth Band" to give community pride to the movement. Even after decades later the influence of the BPP can be seen with organizations like the New Black Panthers Party, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Dalit Panthers.

The Fall

The violent tactics of the Black Panthers caught the attentions of the FBI. This created a covert action program called COINTELPRO which set to disturb and neutralize the Black Panther organization (sometimes using illegal tactics) and other political movements at the time. This along with dispute in the party caused the Black Panther Party to lose influence during the late 1970s.


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