Teaching Students About the Black Panthers

The Black Panther Party was a political organization that was formed in 1966 in California. The party was founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, who were both African American activists. The Black Panther Party fought for social justice and equality for African Americans, and they believed that there should be an end to racism, police brutality and all forms of oppression. It is important for students to learn about the Black Panthers and their ideals because their activism was a significant force in the civil rights movement.

Teaching about the Black Panthers should start with an introduction to their history and the context in which they were founded. The party was formed during a time of political and social unrest in America. Students should be made to understand how African Americans were treated during this time, and how the Black Panther Party came to be a political movement. It should be emphasized that the party was not only about violence, but also about empowerment and community building.

One way to teach about the Black Panthers is through analyzing their ten-point program. This program was the party’s declaration of their goals and objectives, which included demands for education, employment, housing, and an end to police brutality. Students can be asked to analyze and discuss why each point was significant, and how it relates to the larger issue of social and economic justice.

Another important aspect of the Black Panther Party was their activism in the community. They provided free breakfast programs, health clinics, and political education to low-income neighborhoods. Students should also learn about how the party worked to empower women, and how it advocated for LGBTQ rights before they were widely recognized.

Teaching about the Black Panthers should also include examining the role of the media in its portrayal of the party. The media often portrayed the party as a violent and radical organization, which contributed to its eventual decline. It is important for students to learn how this portrayal affected public opinion about the party, and how it contributed to its eventual dissolution.

Overall, teaching about the Black Panthers is an important part of learning about the civil rights movement. It allows students to engage with history in a meaningful way, and gain a deeper understanding of social justice and community organizing. By providing diverse perspectives on the Black Panthers and their role in American history, we can empower our students to become the change-makers of tomorrow.

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