In 1966, the national Black Panther party was created. Their platform and its idealsstruck a chord with blacks across the country, especially in the inner cities of the north.
ThePanthers were able to organize and unite these blacks. This alarmed the federal government. They instituted many controversial, illegal programs of harassment, infiltration, and instigationwhich led to the deaths of many Panthers.From their inception, the Black Panthers were treated with disdain and contempt. ThePanthers wrote out a platform called What We Want, What We Believe. There ideas andmethods appealed greatly to blacks.
The past few years had seen the civil rights struggle rise, andhad left many blacks with the feeling that not enough was being accomplished. Many Blacksshared the view of the Panthers in that violence was needed to defend themselves until trueequality could be achieved. Aside from being militant, the Panthers did things that helped thecommunity. They set up breakfast, and helped people to clean up their neighborhoods. TheBlack Panthers gave many urban black communities a sense of unity and identity that they hadnthad before.The Panthers rhetoric of violence alarmed the government.
In March of 1968, thePanther newspaper printed this warning to police, Halt in the name of humanity! You shall makeno more war on unarmed people. You will not kill another black person and walk on the streetsof the black community to gloat about it and sneer at the defenseless relatives of your victims. From now on, when you murder a black person in this Babylon or Babylons, you may as well giveit up because we will get your ass and God cant hide you.1 This gave the government cause foralarm, and they stepped up their efforts accordingly.
The government went through greatlengths to keep up the status quo. They began campaigns of disinformation against the Panthersin order to stop any support for the Panthers. The Panthers were continuously harassed by police. Panthers were followed and arrested on minor, sometimes fabricated charges. For Example, inOakland California, the headquarters of the Panthers, police would randomly arrest any Panthers. In 1967, the FBI arrested 21 Black Panthers for conspiring to blow up department stores andbotanical gardens in New York.
2Not only was it local law enforcement that tried to destroy the Panthers, but the FBI wasvery actively involved. The FBI had begun using their COINTELPRO program towards theBlack Panthers in November 1968. They had many agents working to surveil, harass andinfiltrate the group. One of the first major actions the FBI undertook was to create a violentconfrontation between the Panthers and the US group.
The FBI used different methods, such assending satirical cartoons to members of the Panthers under the pretense they were from US. These cartoons served to further agitate the already volatile situation. An FBI agent said of thecartoons, The BPP members..
.strongly objected being made fun of be cartoons being distributedby the US organization (FBI cartoons in actuality)..
.Informant has advised on several occasionsthat the cartoons are, really shaking up the BPP.3 Later on, the FBI forged a Panthers name,and sent a letter to another group of Panthers. This later was intended to spark more hatred andconfrontation between the two groups, which it did.The FBIs efforts continued, and were escalated. Their work with the Black Pantherscame to a head on cold December morning in 1969. The FBI had gathered a large amount ofinformation on the leader of the Chicago Black Panthers, Fred Hampton.
Through their sourceswithin the Panthers, they knew the layout of Freds apartment, and when he would be there. At4:45 in the morning, fourteen police burst through the door, and began shooting the interior of theapartment. The police wounded four people and killed two. Soon after the Illinois StateAttorney issued a statement that it was the Black Panthers who had mounted the attack on thepolice, who had been carrying on a search for illegal weapons.
Flint Taylor wrote of the StateAttorneys statement, Hanrahan had a story that Fred was up and firing away at the police in theback part of the apartment. Well the bed that he was sleeping on had blood all over it – at thehead and at other places. So obviously, that totally disproved the theory that Fred was up, about,and firing away.4Upon later investigation, it was discovered that the Panthers had only fired oneshot out of the hundred or so that were fired. It was also discovered that the police hadfabricated evidence to make it appear as if the Panthers had fired upon the police.
In conclusion, . Because the Black Panthers united the black communities within the innercities of the United States. This unity threatened the control the government had on these people. The government used illegal and unethical methods in order to destroy the Black Panthers.
Theirdeception led directly to the deaths of several PanthersCategory: History