a reply to: BuzzyWigs
Ok, the original Black Panthers are a bit complicated. Note, I say the "original" Panthers because today's "New Black Panther Party" is a fraud that
has been rejected by the surviving leadership of the originals.
The Black Panther Party was a black nationalist group whose leaders considered themselves the "sons of Malcolm". They were just one of the many black
nationalist groups during the Civil Rights Movement, but they were probably the most famous. The "Deacons for Defense and Justice" were another such
group. Anyway, the main point of the BP was to strengthen black neighborhoods. Like the Nation of Islam, they patrolled our neighborhoods, helped with
community issues, and had no tolerance for drug dealers & pimps. They were also zealous 2nd Amendment gun rights advocates, because people of color
weren't given full access to gun rights.
They formed schools and shelters in poor, segregated black communities, as well as pushed incredibly hard for our communities to get educated. But
they were most notorious (and beloved) because they watched and confronted the police who were harassing our neighborhoods. If you think the stats are
bad now, today's situation is literally child's play compared to how it was then. Anyway, the Panthers would literally confront the police when they
were stopping black people in black communities, though they did everything according to the law. Though they are heavily vilified now, they were
popular with mainstream Hollywood at the time.
Unfortunately, J Edgar Hoover would label them "Public Enemy #1" and crushed them during the COINTELPRO programs. One of their leaders in Chicago was
assassinated by police (Fred Hampton), and many of their members were arrested & falsely arrested, like Geronimo Pratt (a lot of times, the rapper
2Pac would give shout outs in songs to Panther members who were locked in). The FBI even went so far as to instigate (and finance) the bloody rivalry
between the Panthers and "US", a different black nationalist group that's most famous for creating Kwanzaa. Note: The Black Panthers were also
dedicated communists & promoted many elements of communism, which is another reason they were labeled Public Enemy #1. And Reagan & the California
legislature actually passed gun control measures in attempts to disarm them when he was Governor of California (so they did a legal armed march on the
state capitol building).
The original Black Panthers' legacy is a mixed bag, depending on who you ask. Many African Americans look at them with pride, the same way many
conservatives see the confederacy. And many of today's largest African American gangs originated as "successors" or "the children" of the Black
Panthers. In fact, many of the largest gangs came about because integration was failing and our communities were still being ravaged. So they were
self-defense groups. Then the introduction of drugs & the "War on Drugs" drastically changed that (which is why Gary Webb's research on Reagan's CIA's
coc aine trade into inner cities is so damning; it literally killed off the black nationalist movement).
Hope this helps. I haven't studied them in a while, so I may be missing some things. At least one of my uncles was a member of the original Panthers,
which is ironic because he's an insurance salesman now lol.
Edit to add: Oh, and Brother Malcolm is one of my heroes. Though I prefer him after he left the NOI, went on Hajj, saw that Islam had nothing to do
with skin color or ethnicity, changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, met with African leaders who were helping African nations gain
independence from its "Scramble for Africa
" occupiers, and tried to link the American
Civil Rights Movement to those global struggles. (and yep, that's a horrible run-on sentence)
edit on 12-1-2016 by enlightenedservant because:
added a little bit