The Downfall of the Black Panther Party Essay

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The Downfall of the Black Panther Party

The Black Panther Party was the most influential revolutionary group during the Civil Rights movement era. The BPP became a very strong political power. It influenced many government decisions and attracted the mass media. Yet, due to a number of reasons the BPP eventually collapsed. The Black Panther Party came to its demise due to government operations against it, various mistakes by the Party itself, and by short comings by its own leaders.

The most devastating cause of the BPP’s demise was programs ran by the Federal Bureau of Investigation aimed at breaking up the party. The FBI was mostly responsible for the eventual breakup. In the 1960s, the FBI had a secret program to
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These agents also fabricated information when arresting members and when trials were held. This even included intimidation of witnesses and coercion. As Hilliard noted, “the Bureau concocted a threatening letter to jurors, during the ‘Chicago Eight’ conspiracy trials in efforts to obtain convictions”(179). Indeed, these tactics used by the FBI crippled and eventually broke up the BPP Party.

In the same way, the FBI’s actions were not solely responsible for the BPP’s demise. In fact, various BPP mistakes caused its own downfall. The most serious structural flaw in the BPP was the way it carried out operations. Party members who openly worked in BPP offices or organized in the community daily, were the same people who carried out underground armed operations at night. Naturally, this provided the police with a convenient excuse to make raids on any BPP offices or the homes of the members. Such raids forced the party to make stationary defenses of the BPP offices. Unfortunately, since there was no separation between the daily operations and the underground-armed apparatus, the Party became doomed.

In addition, although the BPP was proficient at the art of propaganda making very good use of its own and the establishment’s media, too many Panthers still fell into the habit of making boisterous claims in the public media that they could not back up.
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