The Black Panther Party was an influential socialist group that impacted the civil rights movement starting in late 1966. The work ethic and order of the Black Panther Party was largely influenced by Malcolm X’s ideology of militarism being a force for successful change. Although, there were certain aspects that were charmed by the cool and calmness of Martin Luther King Jr. To show, it can be inferred that the most easily grasped influence of Malcolm X’s philosophy would be the BPP’s exemplified policy of violence and self-defense with arms.

It was clear that Malcolm X  had a tendency to overlook the dangers and violence, in order to achieve all the Black community had desired, concerning having basic human rights. As acknowledged in the speech he gave on April 3rd, 1964 when he enlivened and invigorated African-Americans to support and promote their usage for their right to vote; he even went as far as threatened and foreshadowed  the government of a possible armed and violent response if any African-Americans were denied their entire voting equality, infamously stating “it’s either the ballot or the bullet”, which the Black Panther Party would further employ as one of their main slogans. In order to foster his advocacy in ‘Message to Grassroots’, Malcolm X had explained that his purpose of armed self-defence for Blacks was a not only necessary evil but also stated his reasoning as morally justifiable. He used the American Revolution, French Revolution and Russian Revolution as examples of a time of great loss and highlighted the issue of a revolution with ought bloodshed being a beggar’s dream.

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He also justified armed self-defence on a moral and intellectual level, stating “As long as the white man sent you to Korea, you bled. He sent you to Germany, you bled…if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people.”Not only were both Malcolm X and MLK powerful in their own rights, but they also shaped the need for a group, such as the Black Panther Party to inspire Black Americans all over the nation, and eventually would reach international outgroups such as the civil rights groups in Australia. With the expansion of the BPP’s followers and influence came a huge change for the regards of minority communities. The Panthers were hugely involved in local governments and political movements in their communities.

Because the Panthers were spread out in the nation, each branch in certain areas would have the responsibility to look after the minorities groups, specifically the Black communities. They took police seriously in order to improve the life of minorities.There were many things that the Black Panther Party helped to identify the group as more than a radical union. In January of 1969, The first BPP’s Free Breakfast for School Children Program is announced and started at St. Augustine’s Church in Oakland, California.

Around the end of 1969, the Panthers had been able to create support kitchens in cities with significant minority populations across the nation; they were able to feed over 10,000 children every day before they went to school. However unlike most parties in the United States, the Black Panthers were not only interested in gaining power through elections. The BPP were more interested in setting up and endorsing other candidates and their platform, for example, the U.S.

Representative Ron Dellums (Democrat, California). They also occasionally used campaigns for a more “symbolic” approach rather than for office, like the time Huey Newton had ran for the U.S. Congress while still in prison in 1968.

The only few times the party took campaigns to a serious effort in order to win elected offices were in 1973, when both party members Bobby Seale had ran for mayor and Elaine Brown ran for city council in Oakland, and once again when Brown re-ran for the city council office in 1975.The BPP also heavily concentrated on creating a series of survival programs that were community-based; they followed the group’s extensive philosophy that encompassed revolutionary and reformist ideals. One of, if not the most radical initiatives implemented by the group was the ideal of self-defense, which was brought on by Malcolm X’s model. The Black Panthers had created “police patrols,” that was first utilized in Oakland and then, with the increase of the numbers in the organization, there was a spread of patrols linked in other cities in America. These patrols were an almost extreme and militarized version of the “neighborhood watch” association due to members patrolling being visibly armed while protecting citizens from potentially lethal run-ins with the police. Thus, the patrols sparked an enormous backlash from police, resulting in numerously dangerous confrontations with the lovingly named “Pigs”. Additionally, the party’s general focus on arming black people, combined with the employment and usage of Black Panthers as bodyguards for prominent celebrities all deliberately strengthen the military symbolism and imagery.

Although the motto and preaching of the party indicated their would be lethal confrontations and armed struggles for black liberation, which is a paradox to the ‘self-defense’ ideal. Finally, the reinforcement of the militant image of the Black Panthers was re-emphasized by the increasing frequency of police shootouts and armed Blacks, which concluded in the death of at least twenty-eight members of the party.


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