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THE BLACK PANTHERS The Black Panthers were a paramilitary organization fighting to improve conditions of the black community They adopted the black panther symbol from The Lowndes County Freedom Organization an independent political party established in 1965 by black residents in Alabama As the antithesis of the nonviolence approach to the civil rights movement advocated by Dr Martin Luther King Jr the original Black Panther Party for Self-Defense advocated weaponry use against police aggression Armed with sincerity the words of revolutionaries such as Mao Tse-Tung and Malcolm X law books and rifles The Black Panther Party fed the hungry protected the weak from racist police and presented a new paradigm of Black political and social activism Founded in October 1966 by Bobby Seale and Huey P Newton in Oakland California the Party grew to at least 5000 members nationwide with chapters in more than half of American cities and an international branch in Algeria Party members viewed themselves as embodying the highest aspirations of a generation of radical African American youth Jones 78 The Black Panther Party was involved in typical behavior associated with organizations during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s They were heavily involved in protests and marches Much of the literature found in their newsletter The Panther contributed in creating riots and rebellions that occurred in Watts Philadelphia Detroit and Newark following the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr on April 9th 1968 Jennings 110 Much publicized and criticized as the demise of the party were the betrayal murder rapes robberies extortion and graft the party was involved with However reduced in significance by most critics and minimally known by the public are their survival programs These include free health clinics free breakfast programs soup kitchens ambulance patrols voter registration assistance community patrols and schools the party was heavily involved with The Black Panther Party was also the first organization to begin teaching Black history to children By
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