The Black Panthers
African American studies refer to an interdisciplinary academic field that had an aim to the study of the history, culture and the politics of the African Americans.
The African Americans refer to people who happened to have found themselves in the United States of America, either they were taken as slaves or they intentionally went there to live and do business or studies. At the arrival at the American soils, these people had different culture, history and political points of view as they were aliens in the land. African American studies, being a field of study, devoted itself to the study of these African Americans including the culture and traditions of the African people as a whole. This study ranges from the British to the Caribbean isles. The field, being science oriented, also involved the scholars of the African American literature, sociology history politics among other fields of study (Burton and Louis 78).
The topic black Panthers involve or refers to an African American revolutionary left wing organization that worked in the self defense of the black people who lived in the American soils. The party was active in the United States of America at the mid of 1960s and the 1970s. The party of the Black Panther got to the national and the international fame when it participated deeply in the black power movement and the politics of the United States in the years 1960s and 1970s, during a period when there was so much of the racism in the United States. This movement was against the racism and thus considered a foundation of the Americas significant social, political and the cultural history. The forces that the Black Panther movement used totally altered the contours of the American identity, for instance they were very disturbing in their provocative rhetoric’s, militant postures and flourishing in their politics and culture(Marine, G.
1969).The term panther refers to one of the majestic, intelligent and exotic animals, which is always fascinating and interesting to many people. The animal itself is quite often used in connection with a wild cat. It has a dark coloration, and looks like a leopard or a jaguar with melanistic coloration. It is normally found in the dense tropical rain forests of the south East Asia.
The African American studies deals with the study of the experiences of the people of the African descent in the black Atlantic societies as the United States of America and the Latin America. The disciplinary perspective explores into the innovative and distinctive social structures of the African Americans, together with the cultural traditions that the Africans in the Diaspora have created over time. This also involves the study of the Black Panther party that was in essence and active during the racism period in the American state. The study of the party has revealed that most of the content of what African Americans underwent during this period was mainly contained in the history of the party (Burton and Louis 79).The Black Panther party was founded in California at a place called Oakland, by two people called Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton on the 15th of October, 1966.
At the initiation, the Black Panther party was a doctrinal organization that advocated for the protection of the African American neighbors from the brutality that was being carried out by the police. During the existence of the party, its objectives and the philosophy took rapid changes in its evolution and expansion. The leaders of the organization took a passionate explosion of the communist and the socialist doctrines. However, the party’s reputation of the Black Nationalism attracted members with varied ideals and perceptions. As a result of this there was the inability for a consensus to be attained by the people in the party.
The leaders thus could not come together with the different views they had (Burton and Louis 79). There was the printing and the circulation of the organization’s news paper, the Black Panther, in the year 1967. There was also the protest by the party in the same year over the alleged selective ban on weapons. This actually happened on the California state capitol in a place called Sacramento. It was now a fact that the party was expanding in its alliance and activities and was even getting into new towns and people, for instance in the year 1968, the party expanded to cities as New Orleans, Chicago, San Diego and New York among other many cities (Talmadge and Stewart 178). The members by then had reached about five thousand and by the statistics of the newspaper, it had actually expanded to a circulation of about two hundred and fifty thousands.
The party was having a lot of impact on the black African Americans in various cities. There then arose a need to have the party be firmly established in the hands of the people and be made official with a number of strategies and objectives. It created what we call a ten point program. This was a document that addressed many of the concepts that made up the right of the black people, for instance, the document called for land, housing and clothing and education rights as well as exemption from conscription for the African American men.It was at the time of achieving national prominence that the party became a hero in the counter culture of the 1960s. The party went against the black segregation and called it black racism, and they advocated for socialism without any racial exclusivity.
Apart from participating in the political affairs, the party took other responsibilities as instituting a variety of social programs that aimed at alleviating poverty among the families that were mostly hit by the problem of poverty and in need of other services. It also went ahead and made alliances with the people who were deemed to be oppressed by the government of the united states, and kept on encouraging them to be in a fight for their rights. There were also the party’s mostly known and influential programs in its evaluation of the police officers and its “free breakfast for children” program. They had armed citizens who often confronted and violently attacked the police. This idea was however not among the objectives of the party (Tallmadge and Stewart 179) It was after a short while that the party was called “the greatest threat to the internal security of the nation” and it was therefore planned to be gotten rid of. There was thorough surveillance, infiltration and police harassment that aimed at making the party weak and finally lose its existence, merely by draining its possessions and manpower.
There was great destruction of the organization by the law enforcement officials who practiced assassination of the members. The party was further diminished by Huey Newton’s manslaughter trial in the early 1970s. The history of the existence to the collapse of the party was thereafter kept in the books as those of a writer and political activist Ward Churchill and the former communist USA member Angela Davis. There were subsequent arrests and charging of some members of the party (Jeanette 46)The long history of activism in the urban areas, criticism in the society and a continuum of the political struggle by the African Americans became a conflict to most of its members. As the heirs of good discipline, pride and calm self assurance as preached by Malcolm, the panthers became national champions in the African American communities and they were very inductive in the nationalism accompanied by street toughness by joining the rhythms of the black working class youth culture which built the politics of the African American people.Having done and achieved a lot, the panthers left a huge significance to the lives of African Americans and the entire nation at large.
Others have it in the fact that they were facilitators of violence, and outspoken misguided radicals. They contented against the law enforcement departments of the American nation. Apart from the material and immediate support to the people, there was a great transformation in the fields of ideas and spirituality among the people, neighbors and those from far, whom the party aimed and had hoped to mobilize. The party members acted as models of self determination and pride, and thus they were able to put together self help and education in revolutionary diction and displayed political commitment in a free spirited and animated ways. The panthers’ well known ” policing the police” had drawn attention to the spatial remote that was enjoyed by the white Americans from the state violence that characterized the kind of life in the black urban communities.In the ten point program, there were a number of issues that the black panthers were aiming to be addressed by the American government (Jones 14).
They included the following: they wanted to be in a position to determine their destinies in their own community through a full control of the institutions within its boundaries. In this, they will thus consider themselves free. They wanted the disintegration of the means and ways of getting the people employed either by the federal government or in their community organizations. There was an urgent need to end the robbery that was being done to the black and oppressed communities by the capitalists. They were demanding what they considered overdue of being robbed by the racist government (Marine 70).
The housing that the blacks were living in was considered unworthy for human living and thus they were crying for decent housing that was fit for shelter of human beings. They also wanted a true education that will teach them the true facts about the nation that they were in, and also give them insights into their origins and their roles in the present day society (Shames and Earl 59). They were very eager to poses the kind of education that will give them the knowledge of self. There was a wide spread police brutality and murder of the black people. They wanted a stop of this vice or else be given a right to defend themselves against the fascist police officers (Marine 70).
The blacks were also at a cry for a completely free health care for all the black and oppressed people. They wanted the government to provide medical services to the people that will cure, prevent and treat them of all their ailments. They also wanted an immediate end to all kinds of wars of aggression by letting the nation of the United States to stop its enforcements on the other people, and let them defend themselves against the wars of aggression. They wanted the release and the setting free of all the captives who were being held by the government, and fare trials under the laws of the country. Finally the black panthers wanted land, bread, housing and education among other human needs.
In this respect, they were looking for ways and means of ensuring that law and order is adhered to in the handling of the government matters and equality among all the American citizens (Shames and Ear 59).The African American studies are concerned with the study of the black people in the world. They were first created in 1960s and 1970s due to the inter-ethnic student and faculty activism at many universities in the United States of America. It was also influenced by a five month strike for black studies at San Francisco state. It actually deals with the study of the black experience, for instance the Black Panther’s experience, and the effects they have among the society at large. As mentioned above, there were many effects that the organization had on the society.
On my opinion, the study of the black panthers in the African American studies help to eradicate the existing stereotypes in the society. It fosters unity and equality of all people living in the world.