Admittingly, the BPP were known to roll up on a block, bearing arms, to ensure equitable treatment of African-Americans stopped by police to ensure. The intent was to discourage police brutality, which was occurring all too frequently in black communities. Even more, the actions which were perfectly legal and reflected a tenable position of Americans relying on the fortitude of the constitution. However, the BPP “defense” stance would lead to increased scrutiny, court cases, and even stand-offs with the police.
To tell a more complete story of the BPP, you’d have to delve into the organization’s community service and nationwide impact. Free health clinics, Free Breakfast for Children Program, voter registration drives and free legal aid are all major parts of their legacy, as the organization evolved. One of its most important efforts was raising awareness of sickle cell anemia where over 30,000 people were tested through their national program.
The group formally disbanded in 1982. COINTELPRO, feuds among factions within the ranks of the Party, along with police action and even murder cases, contributed to this demise. It’s unfortunate due to the group’s legacy of service and uplifting of African-American culture and empowerment.
Today, the BPP’s fight continues because the plight of inequality continues. A revival, of sorts, came about in 1989 with a New Black Panther Party. However, the new group has been criticized as a black hate, anti-white separatist group, counter to the original roots of just black pride and protection. More widely known nationally is the Black Lives Matter organization which has picked up the baton to continue the fight against police brutality and other critical parity initiatives. It’s now our time to stake a claim in owning our future. In the end, we should remember the Black Panther Party taught the power of survival by being reliant on the power of our voice, collective strength and the belief in inalienable rights.