Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 15:04:34 -0500
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Former Black Panthers to celebrate 30th anniversary!
From Jahfree I Kupendua, 9 August 1996
The 30th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party will be celebrated with videos, photo exhibits and discussion groups during a reunion of former Panthers from Oct 11-13 in Oakland, Calif.
The Committee to Celebrate the Founding of the Black Panther Party, composed of former Panthers around the country, is organizing the reunion, whose major activities will be held on Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Waterfront Plaza Hotel in Oakland.
Urging an agenda Of black self-help and community control, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in Oakland in October 1966 at the onset of the black power era.
The party initially gained national attention for its controversial armed patrols that monitored police abuse in poor and black communities
As a consequence, the Black Panther Party became the primary target of the FBI's Counterintelligence Program launched in 1967 to "disrupt, discredit and destroy militant black nationalist organizations " As part of COINTELPRO, the FBI placed 67 informants nationwide in the Black Panther Party. Over 20 Panthers were killed around the country.
The Black Panther Party operated several free community services in some of America's major cities, including breakfast programs for children; medical clinics that tested people for sickle cell anemia; clothing programs; an ambulance service; buses that provided transportation to prisons for families and friends of prisoners; and an award-winning elementary school.
According to a statement by the Committee to Celebrate the Founding of the Black Panther Party:
"[W]e are committed to hosting an inclusive, nonsectarian, and memorable event to celebrate the founding principles, platform, and programs of the Black Panther Party... the extraordinary organization that changed our lives and transformed our communities forever...
" ...We have the responsibility to place our own experiences into historical context. At the same time we have the privilege and obligation to acknowledge the support of our elders, friends and families during those turbulent times...commemorate the sacrifices of those who fell in body and in spirit to the prevailing internal and external forces of those times
"Unless we former members do otherwise, the legacy of the Black Panther Party will be rendered moot--largely ignored, dismissed, and distorted by today's pundits and tomorrow's historians... A few years ago on the children's geography program on PBS, a pre-teen brother was asked the obviously throw-away question as to whether Oakland, Calif., had spawned the Black Panthers or the Pink Panther... he answered the latter...
"Let us come together... and find common ground for the differing opinions we have on what the Black Panther Party meant: its impact and demise. We need to reclaim our history and dispel the myths. It's about time we tell our story "
For further information, write or call It's About Time, P.O. Box 221100,Sacramento, Calif. 95822, (916)688-1895, or Email email@example.com.