By Tom Dare
AN INCREDIBLE video showing protests during the early days of the Black Panther Party movement has emerged.
Footage shows protesters marching in Hutton Memorial Park in Alameda County, California, while a voiceover by Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale outlines the party’s ten-point programme for reform in America.
The video also shows student protesters marching outside the Alameda County Courthouse to protest the arrest of Huey P. Newton, who had co-founded the party in 1966 along with Seale.
Newton was imprisoned in late 1967 after being found guilty of the voluntary manslaughter of an Oakland police officer during a traffic stop, though he was later freed on appeal.
Founded on October 15, 1966, the original purpose of the Black Panther movement was to organise armed patrols to challenge police brutality towards the black community on the streets of Oakland, California.
However, with growing support from the Afro-American community the group grew rapidly. Starting with just six members, by 1970 the group boasted chapters in 68 cities across the United States, with additional chapters in the U.K. and Algeria.
They soon set out a ten-point programme, voiced by Bobby Seale in the video.
“One, we want freedom. We want the power to determine and destine our own black communities. Two, we want full employment for our people. Three, we want decent housing fit for the shelter of human beings.
“Four, we want an end to the robbery of the black community by the white racist businessman. Five, we want decent education to teach us about the true nature of this racist decadent system… Six, we want all black brothers to be exempt from military service.
“Seven, we want an immediate end to police brutality and the murder of black people. Eight, we want all black brothers and sisters held in federal, county, state and city jails to be released because they have not had a fair trial. Nine, we just want the courts to make sure that we have peers on the jury of people from the black community, as defined by the jive constitution of the so called United States.
“And ten, a summary, with the major political objectives. That is, we want land, bread, housing, clothing, education, and justice. We want peace, a black plebiscite where black colonial subjects can participate dealing with, analysing, objecting upon this racist atrocity that has embittered black people in this nation.”
Huey Newton was released at the height of the Black Panther movement in 1970, and in the ensuing years the group attempted to build on its popularity. However, in 1974 Newton was forced into exile in Cuba, and the group began a steady decline under its new leader, Elaine Brown.
The United States government was carrying out a strong counter-intelligence operation against the Panthers, which caused much in-fighting amongst the leadership and led to many high-profile departures from the group, despite Bobby Seale running for Oakland town council in 1975.
Their decline continued throughout the 1970s, with allegations of drug-dealing and extortion rife, and by 1980 the Panthers had just 27 members. Huey P. Newton was killed in Oakland in August 1989, while Seale is now 80-years-old.