HIS1103 – OL51
Apr 19, 2019
Primary Source Analysis: October 1966 Black Panther Party Platform and Program
This 10-point program was constructed by the Black Panther Party in 1966 and was directed towards administration with concerns regarding the welfare of the black community. The demands in each point allow the readers to speculate that the black community was looking to be recompensed for the social and economical issues due to racial inequality in America during the prior years. Though the Black Panther Party intended on bringing justice to their peers, a few of their requests were considerably far fetched.
The document gives the reader a sense of the existing problems along with what’s perceived as plausible resolutions by the Black Panther party. In the seventh point it states, “The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States gives a right to bear arms. We therefore believe that all black people should arm themselves for self defense.” Given the circumstances of minority groups during this time period, such requests may have seemed rational and in some cases, even viable under the law. In this situation, however, allowing so would’ve resulted in a higher level of potential threat and ultimately increase tension among the black community. From this, the reader can identify that the Black Panther Party saw no middle ground and resorted to further isolate themselves from the “white man” rather than to settle on a less violent solution.
Presumably, the Black Panther Party served as the voice of the black community as they were incapable of doing so as individuals during this time period. This document is seemingly rather empowering and more of a demand on behalf of the black community than it is a request to the government. Certain points within this program could have otherwise been redrafted to appear more reasonable to whom the demands are being proposed. It is critical to understand the historical events that unfolded prior to the production of this document in order to consider their choice of vocabulary and tone.