Civil Rights Black Panthers Police Essay

Total Length: 968 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

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Amidst a country of racism against African-Americans, it became inevitable that groups of colored citizens would band together to carry out what police thought to be one of the biggest threats in national security in the United States. In Oakland, California, there existed a highly-built tension between the African-American peoples of the neighborhood and the White police force. Because of the police brutality that led to an abuse of power and numerous violent outbreaks between the groups, the Black Panther Party was created as retaliation, one that would lead to further violence between police and BPP members.

Regina Jennings, like many other young BPP soldiers at the time, recalled the reasoning behind her recruitment. Amongst her peers, she was one of the many who "had witnessed inexplicable police brutality," having "[grown] up in Philadelphia in the 1960s where I regularly saw the police do a "Rodney King" on Black people" (Jennings, 2001). Oakland was no different to Jennings' Philadelphia; White cops further took advantage of their power and, according to many of the African-Americans of the time, oppressed the black neighborhoods under the belief that blacks are criminals. By 1966, this tension escalated high enough that the beginnings of the Black Panther Party came to fruition, led by 26-year-old Huey P. Newton.

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was founded by Newton and Bobby Seale in October 1967 (Houston, 2009). Influenced by the writings and actions of the likes of Che Guevara, Karl Marx, Franz Fanon, Mao Zedong, and especially Malcolm X, the group became the overall response to White police brutality not only in Oakland, but also throughout the rest of the United States.
The group spoke for the advocacy mainly on African-American rights for equal opportunity. Due to the undeniably large amount of African-American population mistreated out of racism by the White population, the BPP stood for a number of the following beliefs and goals:

[The] restructuring of American government and called for equality of opportunity and an end to police brutality; [the] support for black businesses, right to bear arms for self-defense, right to monitor police actions. (Houston, 2009)

The party itself spread to more than 40 chapters nationally, expanding to international locations in India, Israel, Australia, and England. After Jennings viewed the Newton's interview over the Frey killing in 1967 and the Seale march at California's state capitol, even she became enraptured by the idea of the black movement taking place. The Oakland chapter of the BPP "attracted not only [her] but also thousands more across America" (Jennings, 2001). It is not surprising, then, that the history of the BPP contained just as much violence that led up to the party's founding. Numerous shootouts prior to and posterior to the creation of the BPP not only helped the party's reputation to increase, but the viewpoints of White society became even more incensed against the blacks of the group -- and….....

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