This political movement was born during the turbulent civil rights era of the 1960’s. Its goal was to defend communities of color from police brutality and oppression. It was also a social movement that offered many free services to struggling neighborhoods. Under the leadership of Huey P. Newton, the Panthers created “Survival Programs,” helping people with basic needs like comprehensive medical and educational assistance, and “Free Breakfast for Children.”Here is the Black Panthers’ Ten-Point Program from 1967.
- We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black Community.
- We want full employment for our people.
- We want an end to the robbery by the Capitalists of our Black Community.
- We want decent housing fit for shelter of human beings.
- We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present day society.
- We want all Black men to be exempt from military service.
- We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of Black people.
- We want freedom for all Black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails.
- We want all Black people, when brought to trial, to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their Black Communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.
- We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace.
How compelling that this radical agenda speaks to us today in 2021!
In 1969, Fred Hampton of the Black Panthers, William “Preacherman” Fesperman of the Young Patriots and our own Jose “Cha Cha” Jimenez of the Young Lords founded the first Rainbow Coalition in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. In place of the usual brawling street-gang activity, the Coalition relied on nonviolent community organization. It began an effective campaign against police brutality, poverty, corruption and gentrification in low-income neighborhoods of Chicago.
In 1967, the FBI with its COINTELPRO, initiated a campaign to disrupt the Panthers’ successful social programs and destroy the Black Panthers entirely. J. Edgar Hoover believed the Panthers to be the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States. Most historians consider the death of Fred Hampton a political assassination by our government. The current film, “Judas and the Black Messiah” explores the Black Panthers, the final days of Fred Hampton, and the events that led to his death.
Written By: Gerard Akkerhuis | Edited By: Diane Baum