1
   

Looking for Sources on the Black Panther Movement

 
 
Thomas
 
Reply Tue 17 Apr, 2007 07:39 am
As a member of the America House in Munich, I frequently hang out with local Americans there. In recent weeks, Malcolm X, the Black Panther, and the 1992 LA riots have come up in conversations from time to time.

One thing that struck me is that when these Americans talk about the Black Panther movement, no two of them appear to be talking about the same organization. There is a broad spectrum of opinions, on one end of which the Panthers look like an especially despicable bunch of thugs.

To the other end of the spectrum, the Black Panthers almost look like just another mutual aid and protection organization. Pretty much the same kind that Jews, Germans, and other ethnic groups in America had been forming throughout America's history. The only difference, according to this end of the spectrum, was that this particular self-help group organized Blacks, and that America was a militantly racist place when that happened.

It seems likely to mee that this conflict of views can be settled by looking at the facts. To do this, I'd like to find disinterested sources that describe with reasonable objectivity the history and the sociology of the Black Panther movement. If you can suggest good books, that would be great. I am equally interested in any instructive primary sources such as landmark court cases, memoirs, and diaries.

Thanks for your help!

-- T.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 3,801 • Replies: 9
No top replies

 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Apr, 2007 07:52 am
I think it is a matter of perspective. Way back when, on Abuzz, MaryPope and I had a fairly lengthy discussion on the Black Panthers.

She saw them as a great organization that got food and medical care to innner city kids here in Boston.

I saw them as thugs and criminals.

The difference, it seemed, is that they were doing all of their "good" works here in Boston (where she lived) and funding them by robbing banks in New Haven and Hartford (near where I lived). While they were puporting to free oppressed blacks from the enslavement of capitalism, the banks (and shops) they were robbing were almost always those that served black neighborhoods.

The Wikipedia intro is pretty good IMO. This site also gives a brief recap:
http://www.factmonster.com/ce6/history/A0807795.html
0 Replies
 
eoe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Apr, 2007 07:54 am
The Black Panther Party
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Apr, 2007 07:55 am
http://www.stanford.edu/group/blackpanthers/
0 Replies
 
eoe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Apr, 2007 07:57 am
fishin wrote:
I think it is a matter of perspective. Way back when, on Abuzz, MaryPope and I had a fairly lengthy discussion on the Black Panthers.

She saw them as a great organization that got food and medical care to innner city kids here in Boston.

I saw them as thugs and criminals.

The difference, it seemed, is that they were doing all of their "good" works here in Boston (where she lived) and funding them by robbing banks in New Haven and Hartford (near where I lived). While they were puporting to free oppressed blacks from the enslavement of capitalism, the banks (and shops) they were robbing were almost always those that served black neighborhoods.


Can you provide some background on these charges?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Apr, 2007 08:00 am
Wow, what a start! Thanks, fishin, eoe, and Phoenix, for these links.
0 Replies
 
eoe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Apr, 2007 11:22 am
Thanks for the link.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Apr, 2007 11:32 am
Totally off-the-cuff, no links:

I think that the Black Panthers were idealists who had lofty goals and often did good things, but whose general philosophy was in reaction to MLK's peaceful resistance/ civil disobedience flavor of civil rights activisim. The Black Panthers were militant (including many overt military trappings) and thought that more extreme measures were necessary to secure justice and equality for black people. "More extreme measures" meant that they were more violent in acts and rhetoric than MLK and co.

I seem to remember that there were some internal divisions, too, with Huey Newton being more interested in helping the community and Eldridge Cleaver being more about revolution/ guns/ etc.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Apr, 2007 12:08 pm
Many of the early members of the Black Panthers had been members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and had originally been allied to Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Council. In 1966, Stokely Carmichael became the leader of the SNCC, and moved it in a more militant direction, because of the murders of black and white civil rights workers. He advocated "black power," and "confronting the man." A good many other young black men of his generation followed him from the non-violent confrontation doctrine of the SNCC to the confrontational and sometimes violent doctrine of the Black Panthers. It seems (not being black, i can't say for sure) that many young black men felt betrayed by the non-violent civil rights movement, and were attracted to the outspoken militancy of the Panthers. Carmichael was eventually made the "honorary Prime Minister" of the Black Panthers. Although i don't believe he was a founding member, many of the earliest members of the Panthers were former members of SNCC or their supporters.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Apr, 2007 12:16 pm
It appears that i was wrong--although not entirely (i know, i know, you'd never think that would happen, but sometimes it does). According to his Wikipedia article, Carmichael was responsible for the Black Panther symbol, which it alleges then inspired Huey Newton and Bobby Seale:

Quote:
In 1966 Carmichael journeyed to Lowndes County, Alabama, where he brought together the county's African-American residents to form the Lowndes County Freedom Organization. The organization was an effort to form a political party that would bring black residents of Lowndes -- who were a majority in the county, but held no elected offices and were locked out of local politics -- into power. The organization chose a Black Panther as its emblem, ostensibly in response to the Alabama Democratic Party's use of a White Rooster. This emblem went on to inspire the name and symbol of the Black Panther Party later founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, CA.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, EVERYONE! - Discussion by OmSigDAVID
WIND AND WATER - Discussion by Setanta
Who ordered the construction of the Berlin Wall? - Discussion by Walter Hinteler
True version of Vlad Dracula, 15'th century - Discussion by gungasnake
ONE SMALL STEP . . . - Discussion by Setanta
History of Gun Control - Discussion by gungasnake
Where did our notion of a 'scholar' come from? - Discussion by TuringEquivalent
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Looking for Sources on the Black Panther Movement
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 09/16/2021 at 05:50:24