Anyone who lived through the turmoil of the civil rights era will remember The Black Panther Party. The BPP was formed with a mission of advancing equal rights for African-Americans. But now there’s a New Black Panther Party—that Party maintains its own website, but no link is being provided because I do not link to groups whose language suggests they are hate groups spewing nothing more than hate speech. This is my personal opinion.
The guardian of the original organization, The Huey P. Newton Foundation, has issued a statement separating the original Black Panther Party from the new group.
An announcement on the Foundation website said, “As guardian of the true history of the Black Panther Party, the Foundation, which includes former leading members of the Party, denounces this group's exploitation of the Party's name and history. Failing to find its own legitimacy in the black community, this band would graft the Party's name upon itself, which we condemn.”
The NBPP has been the focus of a US Justice Dept. investigation over voter intimidation. Members of the Party stood at a voting precinct location in Philadelphia, wielding nightsticks and engaging in hate speech. The Justice Dept. applied a slap on the wrist to punish those involved.
The NBPP also showed up in a small South Carolina town recently after a white man allegedly murdered a black man and dragged his body through the streets. An investigation is underway to determine if this was a hate crime. I spoke to several residents of that town and the word on the street is the two men actually knew each other and the violence occurred over a female both were interested in. Those are personal opinions from people I spoke to, however, and all the facts have not yet emerged.
Whatever the mission of the NBPP, a number of names associated with the leadership are Middle-Eastern in origin, and the Anti-Defamation League provides a backgrounder on some in the NBPP who have been part of the Nation of Islam.
ADL offers an example of NBPP's so-called activism:
"In 2000, [Malik Zulu] Shabazz, now both the Panthers' national spokesman and national minister of justice, opened a chapter in Washington, D.C., that would become the group's headquarters. Soon after, he introduced his chapter to the D.C. community by organizing a boycott of a local Korean-American owned store after a dispute between the store owner and a black teenage girl led to a fight, which was caught on video tape. The NBPP organized a week of protests on the sidewalk in front of the store, and protestors, borrowing the language of anti-Semitic slander, chanted 'death to the Bloodsucker.' In November 2000, a pipe bomb was thrown into the store, causing severe damage. Painted across the outside wall were racial epithets and the words, 'Burn them down, Shut them down, Black Power.' Shabazz said his group had nothing to do with the attack."
Groups like NBPP and the Ku Klux Klan tend to utilize hatred as a resource for power. In truth, neither really helps the people they propose to help and in the long run, simply foment hatred between races with no thought to the consequences of that action.
The original Black Panther Party, according to the Huey P. Newton Foundation, has no relationship with the New Black Panther Party. The Huey P. Newton statement said of the new group, "Are they, given the history of their late-leader Khalid Muhammad, a group of anti-Semites like the very Ku Klux Klan they allegedly oppose? What is their agenda?"
Media and NBPP members should make that clear when they speak about current events. The NBPP is not your flower child’s protest group, but rather a group like the KKK, perhaps fanning racial hatred for purposes of political power. —Kay B. Day