History Of The Black Panther Party: Facing Police Brutality And Advocating Social Change

History Of The Black Panther Party - Facing Police Brutality And Advocating Social Change
History Of The Black Panther Party – Facing Police Brutality And Advocating Social Change

The History of the Black Panther Party in America is traced to the movement formed by two Black American revolutionaries in the latter part of the twentieth century known as the Black Panther Party. The activities of the black panthers were aimed at tackling the failure of the civil rights movement to improve the condition of the black people in America.

Black Panther History

The black panther party founded in 1966 in Oakland, California was the brainchild of Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. These black American revolutionaries drew from the tenets of Malcolm X and the philosophies of the Black power movement. The two men adopted Malcolm X’s slogan “Freedom by any means necessary.” The Black Panthers also drew inspiration from Stokely Carmichael, who was a Black Nationalist leader. He coined the phrase “Black Power,” which later became the group’s outreach cry.

In 1965 he founded a political party. The political party had the Black Panther as its emblem. The Black Panthers later adopted that image. The image of the black panther is a symbol of Black power. The panther is an animal that represents power and protection. This animal is a symbol of valor, courage, and determination and these attributes clearly define the underlying principles on which the movement was founded.

Members Of The Black Panther Party
Members Of The Black Panther Party

The Black Panther Party was an African American revolutionary organization with the initial goal of patrolling black neighborhoods in order to protect residents from police brutality. The party was focused on facing police brutality and advocating social change. The party was active in the United States between 1966-1982, with chapters in major cities, and international chapters in Britain and Algeria. The unofficial uniform of the black panther group was a black leather jacket, afro, and black beret.

Goals Of The Black Panther Party

The Black Panther Party originally was founded with the aim of providing Self-defense for the blacks against the constant violation of rights encountered in hands of the police.

As the black panther movement progressed, apart from protecting the black citizens from police brutality, the members confronted politicians and also created community service programs known as “survival programs”  which made provision for food, clothing, and transportation to people.

Black Panther Party Line Up For Photo
Black Panther Party Line Up For Photo

Service To The People

The women in the local chapters of the black panther group focused attention on community “survival programs.” They organized a free breakfast program for 20,000 children each day as well as a free food program for families and the aged. They sponsored schools, legal aid offices, clothing distribution, local transportation, and health clinics, and sickle-cell testing centers in several cities. These activities provided concrete aid to low-income communities and drew support for the Black Panthers.

Black Panther Party Community Breakfast
Black Panther Party Community Breakfast

Decline Of Black Panther Party

The group agitated for social change through possession of arms for the purpose of defense. The Black Panther Party membership reached its peak in 1970, with offices in 68 cities and thousands of members, but the number began to decline over the following decade. After the leaders and members were vilified by the press, public support declined and the group became more isolated.


This is 39 years since the Black Panther Party was disbanded by the Federal Government of America, through the oppression, intimidation, and setups by the police and FBI, and nothing has changed. The police brutality which the Black Panther Party hoped to quench in their time has even grown more fierce and bold. Every day we are greeted with news of a white police officer killing or harassing a black person, in the United States.

This constant killing of African-Americans by white cops has led to the formation of Black Lives Matter, which many see as the resurgence of the Black Panther Party, only that this time, they do not bear arms for self-defense. And this only shows us that white America has not changed from its racist ways, and might never change.

Will there ever be a time when the Black man is free from police harassment and extra-judicial killings in America? That question is for the killers and all people of good faith to answer.

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