Black Panther Party and the Africa-American Community Term Paper

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Black Panther Party

Bobby Seale and his contribution to Black Panthers

Charles E. Jones and the analysis he conducted in his book has basically been used by us in this paper to conduct an assessment of the contribution made by Bobby Seale to the Black Panthers. We chose Jones' book for this paper because all the essays that were written by the previous Black Panther Party members as well as the essays that were written by the historical scholars are accurately presented in Jones's book. Furthermore, various characteristics of the Black Panther Party through and past its active days have been included in the book by Jones himself (Jones 1998).

Jones (1998) has summarized the achievements of Bobby Seale by categorizing him as an activist of the civil rights with an African-American origin who founded the Black Panthers along with Huey Newton. This was a leftist party whose initial purpose was self-defense for the African-Americans against the brutality of the police forces displayed on the 15th of October 1966. Bobby Seale remained a member of the air force from the age of 19 however, after just 3 years of service he was dishonorably discharged because he was absent from duty without actually taking a leave of absence. He later on met Huey Newton when he went to the Merit College at the age of 25 and joined the African-American association (AAA). The way that the problems, which were being faced by the black Americans, were handled by the AAA didn't seem very appealing to Newton and Seale as, all that this association was doing was, conducting analyses of the problems which were being faced by the black Americans rather than trying to bring about a change (Jones, 1968).

A definite change was made by Bobby Seale when it came to the Black Panthers. Movement and the actions it took. The black panthers were considered to be a threat to the United States' security as declared by J. Edger Hoover, the FBI chief at the time, who said that, "Black Panthers are the biggest threat to the United States' internal security." David and Cole (1993) also noted that the Black Panthers were declared to be the biggest threat to United States' internal security. There were a number of times when Seale got arrested; the most severe were the times when he got arrested because of the riots that were being held in 1968 in the wake of the Democratic National Convention (David and Cole, 1993). Forbes (2006) points out that one of the original Chicago 8 in this particular case was Seale however, he was a very last minute replacement as, he came in place of Eldridge Clever; later on, while Seale was cut from the case, he still spent 4-year in prison for his outbursts and contempt (Forbes, 2006).

There was another court case that Bobby Seale was involved in; this was in the year 1970 when he was out of jail on trial. The court case was related to the New Haven Black Panthers trials. He was suspected of giving orders to a member of the Black Panthers to kill Alex Rackley who was also a Black Panther but who had possibly confessed to being an informant for the police when he was tortured. The charges were however dropped as a verdict wasn't reached by the jury. In 1972 Seale got out of the prison. According to Ward and Vander Wall (1988) Seale's wife became pregnant supposedly with the child of Fred Bennett who was another Panther member during the time that Seale was in the prison. It was in the April of 1971 that mutilated remains of Bennett's were found in a hideout of the Black Panther. Seale was a suspect in this murder since it was his wife that Bennett was having an affair with (Forbes, 2006).

The ways through which he tried to bring about change has been altered for the better by him in the recent years as, now he takes part in the establishment of community organizations as well as charity programs held for the youth. Although the actions of Bobby Seale were radical but it is also a fact that he fought for what he believed in and for what he thought was his right. Forbes (2006) says that Seale was one of the significant leaders of the black Civil Rights Movement and even though he had his share of indiscretions previously but it is evident that he was a great leader and that his loss will always be felt greatly (Forbes, 2006).

Huey Newton and his contribution to Black Panthers

We have made use of the book by Hugh Pearson in order to review the contributions made by Huey Newton to the Black Panthers. In this book it has been explained how Huey Newton came across Bobby Seale in California at the Merit College and how they ultimately left Black Student Union so that they could start Black Panthers. The significant incidents at the time of the existence of Black Panther have been noted by him and he has concluded his theories regarding the end of the panther party and the circumstances which led to it (Pearson, 1994).

It was noted by Pearson that it was at the Merit College that Newton and Seale first met and became friends. Later on this friendship resulted in Newton becoming the co-founder of Black Panther along with Seale as the founder. The main reason behind them founding the Black Panthers was their frustrations regarding the social injustices that they saw towards the black community. These two like many other blacks were greatly saddened by the death of Malcolm X It was Huey who came up with the idea of the blacks carrying weapons and it soon became the founding principal for the Panthers as it inspired the philosophy of Malcolm X regarding self-defense as well (Pearson, 1994).

The blacks were tired of the brutalities of the police towards the African-American community and because of this Seale and Newton decided to come up with an organization that would be monitoring the behavior of police in the neighborhoods of the blacks along with providing protection to the rights of the African-Americans. This was the Black Panther Party. It was in 1966 that the Panthers officially became a part of the American history when the platform for the party was written by Huey P. Newton. An aggressive call for power was made by the platform in order to evaluate the destiny of the black community. An emphasis was placed by the platform on the need to bring the police brutality to a stop (Pearson, 1994).

The first action which was taken by the Black Panthers was following the Oakland Police cars, either in cars or on foot, while they were dressed in black leather jackets, black pants, black berets and starched blue shirts and carrying loaded guns. This was a living testament to the fact that the Black Panthers could and would stand up to the police. Such an image of the black community was created by the Panthers that the people could be proud of it. The thinking of Huey Newton and the outlook of Black Panther was very important as the consistence of the fundamental African-American political thought was represented by it. The readiness and determination for revolution was tapped by Huey in the people who were considered outcasts, in order to organize the Panthers. Newton was more involved in empowering and uniting the Blacks to form a movement so that a significant role could be played by each and every one of them in the hope for social change. Therefore, due to this commitment of Newton the message of the party spread all over the country and many young blacks got attracted to the party (Pearson, 1994).

The media as well as the white community tried to make it look like the Black Panther Party hated the white community and that it was a Black Nationalist Organization. This was true in no way as, there were a lot of biracial alliances in the Black Panthers unlike many of the other organizations. With the growth of the party all over the country the police started being threatened by the Panthers from the federal, local and state branches of the government. The FBI, due to this immense increase in the Black Panther Party's success, began to believe that the Panthers could cause a violent uprising of the black community. The Black Panthers were declared the single most dangerous threat to the country by J. Edgar Hoover on the 8th of September, 1968 (as cited by Pearson, 1994). According to Pearson (1994), as a result of this a counter-intelligence program, COINTELPRO, was launched by the FBI against the black Panthers. The only mission of this program was to neutralize and disrupt the Black Nationalist Hate Groups. A large number of Panthers were beaten and murdered by the COINTELPRO. The Black Panther Party collapsed very quickly due to the…[continue]

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