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The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was founded in October 1966 in Oakland California by Huey P Newton and Bobby Seale The name was shortened to the Black Panther Party BPP and it began spreading eastward through the Black urban ghetto-colonies across country In the summer of 68 David Brothers established a BPP branch in Brooklyn New York and a few months later Lumumba Shakur set up a branch in Harlem New York i joined the Harlem BPP in the fall of 68 and served as its Finance Officer until arrested on April 2 1969 in the Panther 21 Conspiracy case which was the opening shot in the governments nationwide attack on the BPP Moving westward Police Departments in each city made military raids on BPP offices or homes in Philadelphia Chicago Newark Omaha Denver New Haven San Diego Los Angeles and other cities murdering some Panthers and arresting others After i and most other Panther 21 members were held in jail and on trial for two years We were all acquitted of all charges and released Most of us returned to the community and to the BPP but by then COINTELPRO had taken its toll The BPP was rife with dissension both internal and external The internal strife division intrigue and paranoia had become so ingrained that eventually most members drifted or were driven away Some continued the struggle on other fronts and some basically cooled out altogether The BPP limped on for several more years then died what seemed a natural death History will be the ultimate judge of the BPPs place in the Black Liberation Movement BLM But in these troubled times Afrikan people in the US need to investigate both the positive and negative aspects of the BPPs history in order to learn from those hard lessons already paid for in blood In particular We need to learn the reasons for the BPPs rapid rise
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