Black Pather Party: Over all, good or bad.

If I understand correctly, they started off good but later on became corrupt with drug trafficking, and murders and such.

Is that pretty much the jist of it? Or is my information wrong?

Thanks for any input.

eta: Please excuse typos in thread title.

The Black Panthers were never good. They were a murderous gang who used revolutionary political rhetoric to mask their criminality and raise money from the gullible.

First – we’re talking about the original 1960s BPP, not the New BPP, right?

Anything targeted by Hoover’s COINTELPRO can’t be all bad.

Yeah, I think this is a really important point. They’re very different organizations with no connection beyond the name, and the original BPP survivors have generally repudiated the new folks.


The BPs were fighting against a real (and important) injustice and sometimes they used valid means. However they were violent from start and had some very shady characters in their leadership. The legitimacy of their gripes caused supporters (mostly liberal) to overlook their crimes.

They probably were the vehicle for some positive changes and they certainly put police brutality in the public conscience but their violence overshadowed any gains they might have made. Most people would probably conclude that MLK’s methods were more constructive.

A book you might want to consider reading is Days of Rage by Bryan Burrough. The book doesn’t focus on the BP but it has a fair amount of detail.

Both. The criminal aspect to their activities were no doubt have popped up elsewhere if they didn’t exist.

Well, one thing I know is that the Panthers provided free breakfasts for schoolchildren in low-income communities. This makes an enormous difference in a child’s ability to concentrate and achieve in school; physically alone, but also psychologically, I should think.

Also, while of course violence and corruption are very bad, I think that at that time and in that context it was important to create an alternative to the common (white peoples’) image of black folks at that time. Panthers were educated, politically informed, and capable of a pretty high level of discourse, at a time when black folks were painfully underrepresented and misrepresented in the media and in the news and in the political arena.

Also, the American government has a long history of ignoring its disenfranchised (like people of color, women, the poor and the homeless) until they are forced in one way or another to at least enter into a dialogue. This has usually been accomplished, especially, again, at that time, by being strident, visible, and (at least appearing) powerful or, you know, dangerous. By dangerous I mean liable to cause a ruckus of some kind.

And, I probably shouldn’t say this for fear of altering the earnest and thoughtful tone of the foregoing; but I have to say it:

Angela Davis was hella hot!

It was good, also, that they raised awareness of police brutality.

By following the cops around black neighborhoods, and getting out of their car, armed, whenever the cops made a stop.

BLM, take note!

How does a bunch of criminals, engaging in shootouts with police, dealing drugs, embezzling money, torturing and killing people help change the common image of black folks?
Angela Davis was good looking, but Harold Haley was not that good looking, especially after his head got blown off by the shotgun she gave to the murderer in the plot to get her boyfriend out of prison.

From my understanding, the Black Panthers did some good things and bad things, but I find it extremely difficult to judge harshly people who were subject to brutalization for responding with brutality, in general.

By subtracting the (in that era) expected servile docility from that image.

Not sure if it is what occasioned the thread, but PBS just put out a great documentary on the Black Panthers:

Often repressive and brutal toward the women in their ranks, although female members increasingly took power as time went on and male leaders were imprisoned.

Probably the surest route to more gun control legislation would be for BLM to arm themselves and do what the Black Panthers did.

The Brady folks should seriously think about funding that.

Does BLM have a position on gun control?

The Mulford Act in California was passed by scared white Republicans and signed into law by Governor Ronald Reagan - all in response to Huey Newton and the Black Panthers patrolling Oakland using open carry.

Indeed. That was my point.

Wasn’t it one of their founders Eldridge or something that wrote essays about how he enjoyed raping white women to get back at the man? :rolleyes:

On edit:

“[W]hen I considered myself ready enough, I crossed the tracks and sought out white prey. I did this consciously, deliberately, willfully, methodically – though looking back I see that I was in a frantic, wild and completely abandoned frame of mind. Rape was an insurrectionary act. It delighted me that I was defying and trampling upon the white man’s law, upon his system of values, and that I was defiling his women…I felt I was getting revenge. From the site of the act of rape, consternation spread outwardly in concentric circles. I wanted to send waves of consternation throughout the white race.”

Eldridge Cleaver, 1968[2]

There is something to be said for resisting violence upon yourself with violence to show you won’t be victimized but the mentality shown in that quote is deplorable.