LEGACY Page 6
THE RISE OF THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY. It was against this backdrop that Huey P. Newton was organizing the Black Panther Party for self-defense, boldly calling for a complete end to all forms of oppression of blacks and offering revolution as an option. At the same time, the Black Panther Party took the position that black people in America and the Vietnamese people were waging a common struggle, as comrades-in-arms, against a common enemy: the U.S. government. What was most "dangerous" about this was that young blacks, the same urban youth throwing molotov cocktails on America, were listening.
This message was amplified when a small group of Black Panther Party members, led by Bobby Seale, designated chairman of the Party, marched into the California legislature, in May 1967, fully armed. Defined as protest against a pending guncontrol bill (which became the Mulford Act) aimed at the Party with the position that blacks had a Constitutional right to bear arms, the Party's message that day became a clarion call to young blacks.
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