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The Black Panthers Are Back

By Paul Wright

The Black Panther Party (BPP) was originally formed in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. Its goal was to organize and serve the black community in the U.S., sometimes called the survival programs. This included breakfast programs for children, free clothing programs, busing to prisons, free food program and defending members of the community from police brutality and attacks.

The rise of the BPP coincided with the growth of the anti-war movement and a growing radicalization of the student movement. It also saw one of the largest domestic repression programs (called COINTELPRO or Counter-Intelligence Program) aimed at disrupting and destroying the BPP. COINTELPRO encompassed everything from anonymous letters and phone calls to create and build splits and differences within the BPP to outright murder of party members. BPP members were also subjected to long drawn out legal and court battles that even when they resulted in acquittals had achieved the goal of tying up members in the court proceedings and drained scarce resources to pay for legal fees. Many BPP members are still in prison today some 20 years later, making them the longest held black political prisoners outside of South Africa.

The BPP dissolved in 1982. Now, the first issue of "The Black Panther," published by the Black Community News Service is out. It's dated February 1991, and is dedicated to those who have given their lives for the cause of African Amerikan liberation as well as to those who are still imprisoned because of their political activities with the BPP.

Their goal is to address the critical issues facing the black community today which is being destroyed by drugs, unemployment, poor and inadequate housing and education, police terrorism and institutionalized racism.

The BPP now has or is forming branches across the country. For more information or a copy of the Black Panther write to: Black Panther Newspaper Committee, P.O. Box 519, Berkeley, CA 94701-0519. A one-year subscription to the paper costs $10.00.

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