Over 50 years ago, the Black Panther Party established a Ten-Point Plan:
- We want freedom. We want the power to determine the destiny of our Black Community.
- We want full employment for our people.
- We want an end to the robbery by the capitalists of our Black and oppressed communities.
- We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings.
- We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present day society.
- We want all Black men to be exempt from military service. [This was during Vietnam.]
- We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of Black people.
- We want freedom for all Black men held in federal, state, county, and city prisons and jails.
- We want all Black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their Black Communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.
- We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, and peace.
Perhaps the most amazing thing is how many of these points from 60+ years ago are still valid. (The BPP eventually moved to greater recognition that poor white people were in much the same position.)
Under the leadership of Fred Hampton, the BPP started many social programs including a free breakfast program for children, as well as health clinics and emergency medical services. Hampton also met with gang leaders and brought many of them into a broad, multi-racial coalition to build community and work for justice.
Then, J Edgar Hoover and the FBI conspired with the Cook County State’s Attorney, Edward Hanrahan, to assassinate Hampton. In December 1969, they staged a violent raid on his apartment and shot him while he was asleep.