It seems that time, propaganda, and fear has polluted a accurate understanding of the Black Panther movement.
The FBI was determined to dismantle the Black Panther movement just as it had over saw the eradication of the Marcus Garvey movement, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and any Black lead movement to solidarity.
“The head of the FBI, Edgar J Hoover, called the BPP “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.” Hoover ordered field operatives of the FBI to introduce measures that would cripple the BPP. Using infiltrators (one of these, William O’Neal, became Chief of Security for the BPP), the FBI knew of all the movements etc of BPP leaders. FBI raids in BPP heartlands – Chicago and Los Angeles – that led to the arrest of regional leaders, resulted in the collapse of the movement”. – Historylearningsite.co.uk
The Black Panther Party started in 1966 in oakland by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton as a “self- defence” organization for black people against the violence inflicted on them by the police department and the dominant society as a whole.
The Black panther party practiced and fought for their right to bear arms and to protect themselves as predicated in the Constitution. They started and ran successful breakfast programs and – “Free Food Program to feed those who could not afford to do so for themselves; Free Medical Research Health Clinics to provide basic health care for those who could not afford it and an Intercommunal Youth Band to give community pride to the movement. In a book of his essays called “To Die for the People”, Huey Newton wrote that these were exactly what the African-American community wanted and that the BPP was providing its own people with something the government was not.” Historylearningsite.co.uk
No, they were NOT a non – violent group as Dr. King and the Civil Rights groups were. They took the stance of defending themselves and standing up for the community against hostile acts of violence. The BPP however has never lynched, burned, castrated, rapped, oppressed, demonized, attacked or terrorized anyone as the KKK and the dominant society has; they were reacting to the dehumanizing of a people with strength and unity.
Black Power is a scary thing to those who are comfortable with Black people being without power.