The Black Panther Party

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Next, the Black Panther Party provided a variety of social services and programs designed to meet the needs of the black community. Often times overlooked, these services have been virtually absent in the mainstream media’s coverage of the Panthers. Often times “the government’s myopic perception of the party as a glorified street gang, clouded substantial analysis of their social programs by outside observers” (Kirby). The Panthers were known to offer a “wide range of health and social services as part of its survival programs, including free breakfast programs for school children and food aid for families; schools, adult education, and childcare; medical care, medical research, and ambulance services; cooperative housing; employment assistance; free shoes and clothing; free plumbing, home maintenance, and pest control; and protective escort for the elderly” (Pope and Flanigan).For the Black Panthers, the periods of 1968 to 1971 ushered in a positive period where Panther-initiated social programs and services, not only blossomed, but thrived all over the country (Kirby). Yet, the Black Panthers use of social services and community programs, served a dual purpose. “The survival programs provided more than just relief; they also offered a vision of a more just society based on the values of self-determination, cooperation, and social and economic equality” (Kirby). The Panthers’ belief in a socialist revolution was equally tied to these values upheld by their very own

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