October 15th in African American History – The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

Black Panther Party for Self-DefenseOctober 15, 1966 The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was founded in Oakland, California by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton.

In 1967, the organization marched on the California State Capitol to protest a selective ban on weapons and they published their official newspaper “The Black Panther.” By 1968, the party had expanded into many cities around the country, membership was 5,000, and their newspaper had a circulation of 250,000.

As the party grew in national prominence they became more focused on community social programs designed to alleviate poverty and improve health among communities most needful of aid. Despite this, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called the party “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and instituted a program that included surveillance, infiltration, police harassment, perjury, and other tactics designed to incriminate party members and drain the organization of manpower and resources. As a result party membership declined and the organization collapsed in the early 1970s.

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