Sensitive topic. When this is mentioned people tend to cringe, roll their eyes, huff and puff and mumble "can we just move on from this."
Some people think that Beyoncé's half time performance was offensive. People found it offensive because she and her dancers were dressed as members of the Black Panther Party (BPP). Many people think that the Black Panther Party was a violent black group who violently attacked police officers. So to have Beyoncé, one of the world's greatest performers, show homage to such a violent organization was degrading. Many people compared them to the Klu Klux Klan (KKK). Everyone shared their opinions. Some had the facts to back it up and some were just rambling off with the mouth not educated with the complete history about the BPP. Well, as you my old followers and new followers know, Delicious Talker will give you the facts. True delicious facts, the good bad and ugly.
The Black Panther Party (BPP) was founded in Oakland, CA in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. Why was the BPP formed? This group was formed because of the constant police brutality that was going on in Oakland. But it wasn't limited to Oakland. Police brutality was going on in other parts of California like Richmond, CA and America as a whole. Now the 2 founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale were educated black men who studied and knew the civil rights of black people. Huey Newton attended Merritt College, San Francisco Law School and the University of California of Santa Cruz and earned a PhD in Social Philosophy. Huey studied the gun laws in California and educated himself about the right to bear arms according to the Constitution. Bobby Seale met Huey Newton in Merritt College when he studied engineering and politics. Okay, so with their educated background they knew that many police officers were violating the rights of black American citizens and the officers broke the laws at every chance they got. So, Huey Newton with the help of Bobby Seale formed the BPP. The BPP grew rapidly after they protested at the Statehouse concerning the Mulford Act (the right to bear arms). Understand that white people already had an underlining fear of black people, now to see black people armed with guns, they began to feel intimidated. The Black Panther Party (BPP) gained the public attention. After doing so they listed their 10 point program.
Huey and Bobby, as well as so many others, saw the little to no help in the black community from the government. So the BPP created Free Breakfast for Children Programs, community health clinics and other community programs. Below is a full list of programs the Black Panther Party supported and created for the people in the community. But I must add that the BPP DID NOT create the WIC program. This has been a rumor that has been circulating for years. The Black Panther Party was big supporters for the WIC program and helped many mothers sign up.
Black Panther Community Programs
Black Panther Party Community Programs
1966 - 1982
2. Benefit Counseling
3. Black Student Alliance
4. Child Development Center
5. Consumer Education Classes
6. Community Facility Use
7. Community Health Classes
8. East Oakland CIL (Center for Independent Living) Branch
9. Community Pantry (Free Food Program)
10. Drug/Alcohol Abuse Awareness Program
11. Drama Classes
12. Disabled Persons Services/Transportation and Attendant
13. Drill Team
14. Employment Referral Service
15. Free Ambulance Program
16. Free Breakfast for Children Programs
17. Free Busing to Prisons Program
18. Free Clothing Program
19. Free Commissary for Prisoners Program
20. Free Dental Program
21. Free Employment Program
22. Free Food Program
23. Free Film Series
24. Free Furniture Program
25. Free Health Clinics
26. Free Housing Cooperative Program
27. Food Cooperative Program
28. Free Optometry Program
29. Community Forum
30. Free Pest Control Program
31. Free Plumbing and Maintenance Program
32. Free Shoe Program
33. GED Classes
34. Geriatric Health Center
35. GYN Clinic
36. Home SAFE Visits
37. Intercommunal Youth Institute (becomes OCS by 1975)
38. Junior and High School Tutorial Program
39. Legal Aid and Education
40. Legal Clinic/Workshops
41. Laney Experimental College Extension Site
42. Legal Referral Service(s)
43. Liberation Schools
44. Martial Arts Program
45. Nutrition Classes
46. Oakland Community Learning Center
47. Outreach Preventative Care
48. Program Development
49. Pediatric Clinic
50. police patrols
51. Seniors Against a Fearful Environment
52. SAFE Club
53. Sickle Cell Anemia Research Foundation
54. Son of Man Temple (becomes Community Forum by 1976)
56. Senior Switchboard
57. The Black Panther Newspaper
58. Teen Council
59. Teen Program
60. U.C. Berkeley Students Health Program
61. V.D. Preventative Screening & Counseling
62. Visiting Nurses Program
63. WIC (Women Infants, and Children) Program
64. Youth Diversion and Probation Site
65. Youth Training and Development
While doing good for the communities, they protected the communities from police brutality and harassment. Between 1966 and 1969 out of 661 police officers in the Oakland community, only 16 were black. This made the BPP "police the police". They would follow the police officers around making sure they didn't harass or assault black people in the community. Sure, officers would pull over and question the BPP members who were following them around but the Black Panthers knew they weren't breaking any laws. And would fight back vocalizing the law and their rights. The BPP were required to know and understand the country's laws (Constitution) and gun laws. They weren't breaking the laws by interfering with the officers' duties unless there was a threat at hand or if police officers were breaking the laws themselves.
By 1970 membership peaked. Many black people saw that the BPP were making changes in communities and protecting them for police officers. One event occurred at a high school in New York: Canarsie High School. I had the honor and privileged to speak to someone very close to me about his experience with the BPP. This person was in the draft of integrating Canarsie High School. Canarsie at the time was predominately white. Black kids would be tormented everyday by white men and women in the community. Some white men would come into the school hoping to catch a black student so they could beat him or her in the stairwell where other racist white men would wait to join in on the beating. The school officials, teaching staff, and City Hall did nothing to ease the racial tension. One day it got so bad, that there were hundreds of highly angry white racist men and women who waited outside the school, waiting for the school day to end so they could attack the black students. What happened next was a shock to everyone. Numerous of black cars rode up to the school. Exiting out of the cars were the BPP chapter in New York. Many white people ran scared while others stayed and continued to torment the black students and BPP. The BPP was fully equipped with MK 14s, other assault weapons and bullet strap vests. They lined up to the school creating a path for the black students to exit the school safely. Not one police officer showed up at the school but the school was closed for the next couple of days. City Hall finally intervened to come up with solutions to ease the racial tension at Canarsie High School and the community.
FBI's J. Edgar Hoover said that the BPP is "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country." The FBI at the time labeled them as a hate group but not the KKK. Mr. Hoover supervised a program called COINTELPRO which was aimed to discredit, criminalize and drain the resources from the BPP. The group he supervised was also accused of using violent and assassination tactics against BPP members, the community programs, participants in the programs, supporters, and BPP workers.
Because of the violent threats, endless talks that turned a deaf ear to not only City Hall, but the country, the BPP began to retaliate. The BPP was already labeled as a violent organization by the FBI, the media and the country as a whole. It is true that the BPP participated in a couple of police ambushes. This occurred during the fall of the BPP. Many of its members began to drift apart. There was a purge within the BPP because there were some members who wanted to work with police departments to create peace within the black communities and there were the others who refused to work with the police officers. Instead they set up ambushes and had shootouts with the officers. This is what many Americans think of when mentioning the BPP.
It wasn't known and shown on the nightly news or in the newspapers what the BPP was doing and trying to do for the black communities. All that was shown was the negative aspect that was already planted into the mind of Americans. Yes, Americans, because many other countries saw the positivity what the BPP was really doing but some of America didn't want to see it. But there were some white Americans who saw the brutality that was going on with the black people and knew what the BPP was trying to achieve.
Now here we are in 2016 still dealing with racism and police brutality. Police brutality has become rampant and the country continues to turn blind eyes and deaf ears to what is really going on. During Beyoncé's performance, many people jut saw her representing, or giving props, to the BPP. But taking a deeper look at the issue, what she and her dancers were wearing, and her new music video "Formation", she was bringing the issue of the police brutality that has been going on in the country on a major platform. The BPP fought against police brutality toward black people and Beyoncé was putting her stamp of approval.
Many people are now trying to associate Black Lives Matter Movement with the BPP. I can see how they would associate the two. You have 2 passionate groups fighting for the justice of black Americans citizens whose voice and strength has been taken away by police officers who doesn't deserve to have a badge. What's wrong, is wrong. All people deserve a fair trial. Yes, I get it! Blue Lives Matter, All Lives Matter but there has been an attack on black people by officers and the neighborhood watcher.
At the end of the day everybody has their own opinion. Everybody forms their own opinion but opinions should be covered with facts. There's no way everything can be written in a post, blog, articles, etc. concerning the Black Panther Party and other racial matters that has become a deadly disease in our country. But everybody can do their own research. So, I encourage you to research before forming your own biased opinions based upon nay-sayers, satire websites and unknowledgeable journalists.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!