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Black Panther Party recalled


When the Black Panther Party was established, it stood for more than Black Power. It stood for self-defense and self-reliance. But to middleclass White America, it stood for what FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover described as “The greatest threat to the internal security of the country.”

Consequently, after much opposition and governmental surveillance and infiltration, the group met its demise in 1970.

“Do you want to know why we aren’t still around like the NAACP and all those other Uncle Tom Negroes?” asked Roland Freeman, former leader of the Panther’s Los Angeles Chapter. “It’s because we didn’t want integration, we wanted progress, and integration ain’t progress. We wanted our communities to be self-sufficient, self-aware and armed. Not walking hand in hand with the enemy.”

The death of the group was a testament to what it meant to live in the struggle with a threat always looming overhead.

Freeman explained that the Panther’s founding member, Huey P. Newton, went public with his decision to end the group’s growth without informing his fellow brethren.

While the government constantly threatened the group, local police tightened their defenses and many were intimidated by the group’s leaders.