Their Movement Changed The Nation's Response To Policing

Black Panther demonstration
Via Flickr
William Anderson
August 20, 2020

When the six Black men joined forces in 1966, they had a clear goal: tired of police terrorism, they were going to do something about it! They called themselves the Black Panther Party For Self-Defense (BPP). 

Their powerful methods to fight police violence may still scare some people.

The Black Panthers took up arms in Oakland, California, and sought out police that were harassing Black people. 

They didn’t have cell phones, but they did have guns! Armed and ready, they would police the police. This wasn’t random, either – it had a strategic purpose.

The BPP knew the police would never willingly “reform” themselves – so they had to press the issue.

The BPP’s Ten Point Program demanded an end to police brutality and created self-defense squads to defend the Black community from police. They weren’t all talk either.

The BPP grew into a national organization, with thousands of chapters. Many got into violent confrontations with police on several occasions. 

They meant what they said! They’d create food programs, healthcare, education, and more – while defending their community tooth and nail.

The BPP’s beginnings were rooted in fighting police brutality. 

That problem is still around to this day, but is the response that the Panthers utilized still viable? We can learn a lot from these revolutionary efforts.

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