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New Black Panther Party Boston


>Original Black Panthers
"The revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution."
-Huey Newton

The Deacons for Defense
(1964, Jonesboro, Louisiana)

A group of African American men in Jonesboro, Louisiana led by Earnest "Chilly Willy" Thomas and Frederick Douglas Kirkpatrick founded the group in November of 1964 to protect civil rights workers against the violence of the Ku Klux Klan. Most of them were war veterans with combat experience from the Korean War and World War II. The Jonesboro chapter later organized a Deacons chapter in Bogalusa, Louisiana led by Charles Sims, A.Z. Young and Robert Hicks. The Jonesboro chapter initiated a regional organizing campaign and eventually formed 21 chapters in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The militant Deacons confrontation with the Klan in Bogalusa was instrumental in forcing the federal government to invervene on behalf of the black community and enforce the 1964 Civil Rights Act and neutralize the Klan.

The tactics of the Deacons attracted the attention and concern of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which commenced an investigation of the group. However, with the advent of the militant Black Power Movement, the involvement of the Deacons in the civil rights movement declined, with the presence of the Deacons all but vanishing by 1968.

The work of the Deacons is the subject of a 2003 Television movie, Deacons for Defense.

Lowndes County Freedom Organization - Black Panther Party
(1965, Lowndes County, Alabama)

The Black Panther Party was created in Lowndes County Alabama in 1965. It was the result of the voter registration drive launched by the Student Non-Violenkwame turet Coordinating Committee (SNCC), later changed to Student National Coordinating Committee. This effort was spearheaded by Kwame Ture (then known as Stokely Carmichael). It is important to note that Lowndes Co. was 97+% African --- but totally controlled by the European 2+ percent. In Alabama as in many parts of this country, our people were not allowed to register and therefore had no vote. The state of Alabama was dominated by the Alabama Democratic Party who symbol was the "White Cock" a white rooster. This symbol represented white supremacy.

SNCC's plan was simple: get enough people to vote so blacks might control the local government and redirect services to black residents -- 80 percent of whom lived below the poverty line. Carmichael and others organized registration drives, demonstrations, and political education classes in support of the black residents.

In Alabama there was a state law that said that in any given county a prerequisite number of county residents could come together and form their own political organization for that county. This meant they could run their own candidates, register voters and what have you. The SNCC workers took this law, and organized a county convention in Lowndes.

Out of that convention an organization called the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO) was created. The LCFO subsequently nominated and selected candidates to run for the county offices: assessor, sheriff and so on. Now SNCC and LCFO were confronted with the problem of mass illiteracy among our people in the area...so they came up with the idea that since so many could not read they need an icon or picture that they could readily identify as their organization. The symbol of the Black Panther was selected because of the color, because of the panther's skills as a fighting cat, and because the image was likely to motivate people.

The Lowndes County Freedom Organization in Alabama was also called the Black Panther Party because it used the symbol to represent the organization as was required by state electoral law. Although there was no formal organizational relationship between that Black Panther Party and the subsequent Black Panther Party for Self Defense organized in Oakland, California, several figures - including SNCC field organizer Stokely Carmichael - served to bridge these two key organizations in the Black power movement. In a speech delivered at the 1966 S.D.S.-sponsored "Black Power and Change" conference at U.C. Berkeley, he said:

"In Lowndes County, we developed something called the Lowndes County Freedom Organization. It is a political party. The Alabama law says that if you have a Party you must have an emblem. We chose for the emblem a black panther, a beautiful black animal which symbolizes the strength and dignity of black people, an animal that never strikes back until he's back so far into the wall, he's got nothing to do but spring out. Yeah. And when he springs he does not stop.

Now there is a Party in Alabama called the Alabama Democratic Party. It is all white. It has as its emblem a white rooster and the words "white supremacy" for the write. Now the gentlemen of the Press, because they're advertisers, and because most of them are white, and because they're produced by that white institution, never called the Lowndes Country Freedom Organization by its name, but rather they call it the Black Panther Party. Our question is, Why don't they call the Alabama Democratic Party the "White Cock Party"? (It's fair to us.....) It is clear to me that that just points out America's problem with sex and color, not our problem, not our problem. And it is now white America that is going to deal with sex and color."

The LCFO registration was an immediate success with the African population. Naturally the enemy hated it and did all they could to destroy the LCFO They evicted sharecroppers, tenant farmers, attempted to foreclose people illegally, and threatened to kill any African who registered. In response to these circumstances the leadership of LCFO instructed its members and supporters to arm themselves, but not to precipitate any violence. This was a strategy necessitated strictly for SELF-DEFENSE. To summarize the people carried a piece for protection, registered and then returned to their place of residence. SNCC, in June of the next year, in Jackson MS, made the famous call for Black Power. A few months later SNCC issued a paper explaining their call for Black Power. Among the things they called for in the Black Power position paper was the establishment of Black Panther Parties throughout our communities across the USA.

Now among the many courageous African student volunteers working with SNimam jamilCC in the original Lowndes Co. project was Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. They were so impressed with the Lowndes Co. experience that they later began to organize the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in Oakland. They advocated that Africans should carry a gun and a legal textbook to defend our Constitutional rights. Key SNCC leaders were invited to serve in select positions. For example Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) was asked to be the Prime Minister of the Party, and others such as Brother H. Rap Brown (now known as Imam Jamil Al-Amin Abdullah and currently a political prisoner) were drafted.

The Founding of the Black Panther Party - BPP
(1966, Oakland, CA)
founding members
Founding Members
November 1966, one month after founding. First 6 members - Top Left to Right: Elbert "Big Man" Howard; Huey P. Newton, Sherman Forte, Chairman, Bobby Seale. Bottom: Reggie Forte and Little Bobby Hutton.

The Black Panther Party was the manifestation of the vision of Huey P. Newton, the seventh son of a Louisiana family transplanted to Oakland, California. In October of 1966, in the wake of the assassination of black leader Malcolm X and on the heels of the massive black, urban uprising in Watts, California and at the height of the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Newton gathered a few of his longtime friends, including Bobby Seale and developed a skeletal outline for this organization. It was named, originally, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. The black panther was used as the symbol because it was a powerful image, one that had been used effectively by the voting rights group the Lowndes County (Alabama) Freedom Organization. The term "self defense" was employed to distinguish the Party's philosophy from the dominant non¬violent theme of the civil rights movement, and in homage to the civil rights group the Louisiana based Deacons for Defense. These two, symbolic references were, however, where all similarity between the Black Panther Party and other black organizations of the time, the civil rights groups and black power groups, ended.

Immediately, the leadership of the embryonic Party outlined a Ten Point Platform and Program. This Platform & Program articulated the fundamental wants and needs, and called for a redress of the long¬standing grievances, of the black masses in America, still alienated from society and oppressed despite the abolition of slavery at the end of the Civil War. Moreover, this Platform & Program was a manifesto that demanded the express needs be met and oppression of blacks be ended immediately, a demand for the right to self defense, by a revolutionary ideology and by the commitment of the membership of the Black Panther Party to promote its agenda for fundamental change in America.

At this point in history the enemy classes infiltrated agents into the party and rapidly diverted the ideological emphasis of the BPP movement from Black Power and Pan-Africanism to reactionary, decadent integrationist under the slogan of a red white and blue revolution. This ideological struggle broke out into the open around the question of the Free Huey movement. After COINTELPRO caused division and confusion some 39 Panther militants were killed, starting with 17 year old Bobby Hutton, stripped nude and killed by Oakland police. This general pattern was repeated in many chapters, for example in Chicago where agents such as William O'Neal worked to sabotage and assassinate Panther members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Some of this responsibility must be traced to the ideological and organizational errors of the anti-Pan-Africanist, anti-revolution forces that infiltrated the BPP leadership in the USA. But the PAN-AFRICANISTS and Black Nationalists would not be discouraged. They continued to work with the leaders of the African Revolution and for the redemptive benefits of Black Power.

The Black Panther Party eventually disbanded, lasting until the late seventies. Surviving Government persecution from the FBI, CIA and Police departments across the US, many of the rank and file Panthers continued and still continue to this day with the work of the liberation of the African in America and across the world. Many original Panthers are Political Prisoners whom need and deserve our support. Some original Panthers are in exile across the world, and others have repatriated to Africa building schools, hospitals and bridges for us trapped in America.

Real revolutionaries never retire.



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