On or about this date in 1966, the Black Panther Party was started in Oakland, California. In the early 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement made huge positive change in the south. But in northern cities, things hadn’t changed. The issue wasn’t voting rights. It was poverty, lack of opportunity, and police violence. Interestingly, these are same problems communities of color face today.
The Black Panthers was started by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale out of the Black Power movement. It was actually quite an intellectual group. That was true of the whole Black Power movement. But to the white suburban middle class, they were terrifying. Of course, the white middle class had also helped to created the group — by segregating themselves in the suburbs and leaving the cities to die economically.
What’s been getting a lot of attention recently is the Mulford Act. All the conservatives today are against any form of gun control. But the conservatives sure were in favor of it in 1967 when they saw black men with legitimate grievances carrying guns. Such a thing was enough to get Ronald Reagan signing gun control laws, that’s for sure.