Black Panther Party

By: Kira Wash

Who are they?

The Black Panther Party was founded in 1966 in Oakland, California by college students Huey Newton and Bobby Seal. Believing in Malcolm X's methods, they founded the organization upon his assassination on February 21, 1965. They found it important to continue his plans and ideals. According to the History Learning Site ,"The Black Panthers believed that the non-violent campaign of Martin Luther had failed and any promised changes to their lifestyle via the ‘traditional’ civil rights movement, would take too long to be implemented or simply not introduced.(Chris Trueman pg 1)"

The party's original intent was to protect the African American community from police brutality. Eventually, the group adopted a Marxist point of view which shifted the intentions of the group. For example, the Black Panther Party now demanded that all African Americans are armed, that they be exempt from the draft, that they are released from jail and that all African Americans are compensated for the centuries of abuse and profiteering by white Americans. The Black Panther Party had what was known as chapters all throughout America, meaning almost each state had a branch of the original BPP. The Black Panthers became a fresh alternative to the Civil Rights movement. They were willing to use violence for the advancement of the African American community.

According to, "The Black Panther Party launched more than 35 Survival Programs and provided community help, such as education, tuberculosis testing, legal aid, transportation assistance, ambulance service ... Of particular note was the Free Breakfast for Children Program that spread to every major American city with a Black Panther Party chapter." This program was later adopted by the US government who originally tried to eliminate the Black Panther Party. The BPP was most famous for its protests such as the march in Sacramento, California against the bear arms law. They were known internationally and had support throughout the entire globe.

Hoover vs Black Panther Party

Was the Black Panther Party really a threat, or was it just Hoover trying to keep them Quiet?

My question is, were the BPP really a threat, or was President Herber Hoover just trying to keep them quiet? Well, throughout the active years of the BPP there were many negative police altercations. The police were not fond of the party and there was always a conflict between them. On multiple occasions, unarmed African Americans have been shot and killed by the police. As if that wasn't enough, the FBI finally got involved and initiated a covert action program called COINTELPRO. It was created to disrupt and neutralize organizations which the Bureau characterized as "Black Nationalist Hate Groups." This program created by Hoover, the head of the FBI, stated that the BPP was, "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country". He also promised that 1969 would be the last year of the Black Panther Party. He was always known to be against the movement.

Herber ordered many different operatives to infiltrate and ultimately take down the BPP. Police shootouts, phone tapping, sabotage, and sketchy laws. They even forged letters to members of the Black Panther Party to give them misinformation. Forcing people into exile is no way for the government to respond to a group of citizens trying to make a change. Hoover took it upon himself to eliminate those that threatened his power, not America. In addition, many years later once details were released on the horrific events that had taken place, the agency publicly apologized for their "wrongful uses of power".


Baggins, Brian. "Black Panther Party." N.p., 2002. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. <>.

This article was created by a group of Marxist Activist. It explains in great detail the different ways that the government attacked the Black Panther Party. This helps me to understand the problems that took place between colored civilians and police. It also connects with current events of violence between the two. It's purpose is to give history on the BPP and all other historical events that involved Marxism. It's limited because it is biased towards people who believe in Marxism.

Trueman, Chris. "The Black Panthers." History Learning Site. N.p., 2015. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. <>.

This site is a web search for various topics throughout history. Somewhat like an encyclopedia but not officially. It lists the 10 point plan that the BPP uses as a key component in their movement. Not many other sources went into detail about the plan. The 10 point plan is a list of demands and objectives of the BPP. It's purpose is to keep the party organized and focused. The websites purpose is to provide information about history, including the Black Panther Party. It's limited because the information may be subject to personal influence. Considering it was made by one person.

"Black Panthers." Britannica School. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. <>.

The Encyclopedia is a tool used to explore many different subjects. This specific article gave me an overall summary of who the BPP were and why they were important. It described the live action of the party from the time it was founded to when it ended. It even makes connections to today and explains how the Black Panther Party still lives through small organizations and individuals who believe in its impact. A limitation is that it doesn't create and argument. It's all fact based.

"Socialist Alternative: The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense." Socialist Alternative. Global Activists, n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2015. <>.

This article was created by activist all around the globe. It's a page for them to talk about the world problems. This source mentions the civil rights movement and how the Black Panther Party helped to evolve and change the flow of things. It mentions the women that influenced that party, and why the party was so fascinated by Malcolm's beliefs. This article teaches me about the underlying issues such as black worker groups and the FBI involvement. However, the specific BPP article was a little opinionated.