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H. Rap Brown Black Panther and Huey P. Newton Black Panther
Because of the repeated occurrences of police violence in the black community, the Black Panther Party was formed. This party was inspired by the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (The Black Panther Party of Lowndes County Alabama) that organized the southern black community into fighting for their fundamental rights such as voting. The party’s symbol was that of Black Panther. According to Huey Newton, a black panther is an animal that usually does not attack and when attacked, backs up until there is no space to the back. In view of this, the Black Panther strikes out at the assailants until they are wiped out. Newton posits that the Black Panther will not hit unless pushed up to the breaking point against the wall, as in such a point, there is only one option, fighting back to stay alive. The Black Panther Party is ruled by a fundamental principle of armed self-defense. This paper will give a concise but succinct discussion of the Black Panther Party with a closer look into Huey Newton and Rap Brown.
Huey Newton and Seale Bobby did start the Black Panther Party in their student days in Oakland at Merritt College. The Party was first formed to control the cops. However, the party did patrol the police from a legally accepted distance. Thanks to the surveillance, there was a decline in police brutality and violence against the black community. However, soon the police focused more on the Black Panther party regarding harassment. The party leaders realized that the decisions of the police were not ultimate about why and whom they would attack.
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Apparently, the police tended to act as if they were authorized to perform law enforcement for the individuals who made political decisions. In an attempt to counter the harassment by the police officers, the party developed a political program that outlined their demands and wants (Brown 1). Newton argued that the Black Panther Party acted as the black community’s vanguard. He claimed that the black people had not yet attained the sufficient consciousness that would help them verbalize their demands and thus they would identify with the Black Panther Party to act in a meaningful manner since they knew the nature of the police harassment. The support of the party grows daily as the black people continue to witness the harassment and oppression of those who speak for them.
Additionally, the party’s support is not just locally provided by the groups that are stretched all over the country, but also the international support of the Black Panthers can be evidenced by the statements made by African leaders, namely Sekou Toure and Kwame Nkrumah. Both of these African leaders have shown support for the release of Black Panther’s founder Huey Newton. Black Panther Party’s wants are included in its program and can be divided into ten sections, where the first one is freedom about the demand of the party to have the power of determining the destiny of the black community.
The party supporters believed that the black community could not attain their freedom until they can determine their fate. Secondly, the Party also advocated for full employment of the black people as it believed that the government is obligated and responsible for providing every person with guaranteed income and employment. The Black Panther Party did argue that the white businesspersons could not offer full employment to the black community. Therefore, the white merchants had to give the black persons a chance to organize the society in a manner that could ensure work for the black people and thus improve their living standards. Thirdly, Huey championed for the end of the robbery, since the party believed that the racist government robbed the black people. There was a requirement for paying forty acres off, as well as providing two mules, as it was promised one hundred years ago as compensation for the mass murder and slavery of the black people. Another want of the Black Panther Party entails the need to have decent housing that is suitable for human beings.
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The Party also made a stand for the black people’s education as well as their exemption from the military service. Moreover, the party demanded that the police must have immediately stopped murders and brutality against the black people (Brown 2). Another party’s ultimatum was freedom of the people of color in federal, state, the county and city prisons, because the black people held there were not given an impartial and fair trial. The ninth want of the party was to have the black people tried before a jury comprised of their peer group or individuals from the black community as defined in the United States Constitution. Lastly, it is evident that the party advocated for housing, land, education, peace, justice and bread for the black people.
Presumably, the Party’s program and platform, which arguably formed the American nature of politics, traces its roots to the analysis of its leader, Huey. Newton has argued that politics is a war without bloodshed, while war is the extension of politics, which includes bloodshed. The main reason why the attempt of reconstruction in the bid to put the southern black people into offices failed is because well-educated and intelligent African Americans lacked a powerful constituency to back them up. As Newton said, that powerless group does deliver a consequence when their wants are not taken into account, and, therefore, one who represents a group that has no power remains powerless as well. Several ways are used to obtain such feudal power, for instance, owning land. The farmers can let the crops wither or rot in the farms if they do not access what they are demanding for owning this power. Such kind of consequence tends to necessitate attentions and action. The second way to gain control and in particular economic strength is through business ownership.
Nevertheless, if the black people cannot acquire land or economic power, then they have no other hopes to change the conditions eminent in their society. As Huey stated, the only way was left: to inflict destruction as a consequence. Thus, Huey outlines that the black community ought to arm themselves in a political manner. They ought to be in a position to deal with the harassment of the police in the black community.
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Alternatively, they could wield power through having the police chosen by the black people, serve the black community’s needs as well as to live amongst the black community. Such a situation would imply that the police would not act merely in defense of the interests of the white slumlords and businesspersons. However, Newton Huey outlined that the black community should not limit themselves to using guns only in the course of the discussion of power. The political program of the party would be enacted and ensure that the wants discussed above are promulgated in the bid to benefit the black community.
As for the contemporary status of the black people in America, Eldridge Cleaver – the information minister of the party –stated that the black people are colonial subjects and form part of black America, a colony in the white-dominated America. The fact that the black populations as colonial subjects are dispersed across the country, does not mean that their colonial subjugation is less real. The black American today entails a community full of confusion as Newton Huey argues. He portrays the black man as belonging to a lower socio-economic background. The African American community has come from its hostile environment, and Black Americans face this hostility daily and deny their very own ability. Also, the African Americans have been conditioned to feel as if they are inferiors compared to the whites and thus they blame themselves for their status in the entire American community. Also, he has been trying to change his image of inferiority through his lifestyle driven by his desires for flashy material possessions.
Newton highlights how a black person has been forced into respecting a law that has no respect for him. Some of the individuals who believe in the nationalism culture try to answer the black people’s problem by referring back to the eleventh century in Africa. Nonetheless, it is impossible for freedom to come from identification with the eleventh century’s Africa. As argued by Newton, the freedom of the black people will come from an identification with the modern revolutionary struggles, made by the people of color throughout the world with the inclusion of the African efforts. The information minister, Cleaver, highlighted that the African Americans have a common culture and history. This is because they feel inferior, just like strangers amidst the government and economy controlled by their whiter counterparts.
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Therefore, the very basic understanding of why Huey has to be released is political, since the country is divided through political lines. This can be seen from the perspective that the African Americans are treated as colonial slaves who are patrolled by the police while the whites represent slave masters who make the political and economic decisions. Also, Newton is a political prisoner since he is in jail for a crime he did not commit just because he is the defense minister of the party. Apparently, Newton was jailed because he was against the oppression of the white-man-controlled government that oppressed the black community and not because he murdered the Oakland police officer.
Huey did vividly state that if the people were not armed while the government had regular military and police forces to patrol the people, then the people would become slaves of the federal government and, therefore, they were subject to slavery. His conclusion was that, as long as the police officers were armed, therefore, the black community also had to be armed. In his defense, Newton argued that the Black Panther Party’s proponents carried guns since it was educative to the African Americans concerning their right to carry guns for the purposes of self-defense and in particular for self-defense from the police harassment (Brown 8).
Imam Jamil, also known as Rap Brown, was born in Louisiana Baton Rouge. Rap became known for his activist movement on civil rights at the age of nineteen. Rap evolved to become a national figure, and he was in high demand to act as the speaker on several occasions. In a civil rights rally had in Cambridge, Rap did urge four hundred people to fight fire with fire. He argued that the black community built America, thus its failure to agree with the blacks would culminate to its fall. After that rally, Rap escorted a woman home, some people shot him from the bushes, and he was injured. Consequently, riots broke out and later Rap was accused of having incited the riots. With the charges against him, pending Rap Brown was arrested, and later a federal judge sentenced him to five years in prison from 1968. Before the sentence, Rap and Carmichael Stokely had been made honorary members on February 17, 1986. In the year 2002, Rap was convicted of thirteen criminal charges with the inclusion of Kinchen’s murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without any possibility of Parole.
Briefly, it is apparent that the Black Panther Party was the black man’s forum for who fought against the black community’s oppression and harassment by the police. Moreover, Newton considered the black America a colony in the white America, and compared the relationship between the whites and the blacks to those of slaves and the masters. For instance, the black man, who was made to believe that he is inferior to his white counterparts, has ironically been taught to respect the law, which has little or no respect for him. While studying at Merritt College in Newton, Huey formed the Black Panther Party. The party patrolled the police, having significantly reduced police brutality towards the blacks. As outlined in the Party’s program, the black people have the right to education, land, and fair trial. However, Newton said that the black community was a powerless group since they lacked economic and feudal power and thus, being a representative of such group, he could not wield power. Therefore, the black community had to organize themselves in a political manner to form a stepping-stone to getting power. There are several ways to get power, and one is through ownership of business, which enables an individual to attain economic power. Feudal power on the hand emanates from land ownership as farmers can influence government’s action by leaving their crops to rot in the fields in the case their wants are not appropriately responded to. As the members of the Black Panther Party argued, as long as the police remained a threat to African Americans, the black community also had to be armed to defend themselves against the police harassment. Also, since the black community could not wield power through ownership of businesses or land, then the only way to have power was through the infliction of destruction. Therefore, Huey outlines that the black people ought to arm themselves in a political manner to be in a position, in which they could deal with the harassment of the police. Furthermore, the fact that the black people are colonial subjects who dispersed across the country, does not necessarily imply that their colonial subjugation has become less real. On the other hand, Newton displays black men as the ones belonging to lower socio-economic backgrounds.