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out of the school, to work as community organizers for the North Oakland Poverty Program, that they created the Party by writing out its ten-point platform and program. The "points" were divided into "What We Want" and "What We Believe" categories of practical, specific demands for things they felt were needed, and should be--things that were guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and had been demanded by black people for a hundred years, things that were directly related to what they had before they were forced to leave Africa. The language used to express the ten points was concrete, easily understandable, and seemed to cover all the ground concerning a man's right to existence on the planet, be he black or brown or whatever.

Emmett felt that the articulation of the Party's platform and program was far more inspired than the choice of "Black Panther" as a name. It was too narrow a title for a group which stressed "intercommunalism" and besides, one of the Ku Klux Klan's first dens or local chapters in nineteenth-century South Carolina had also been named after the same predator--one of the only animals to kill for sport, not just food. Emmett assumed that the name had been chosen as a follow-up to the SNCC group, which had been formed to protect black people and civil rights workers in Lowndes County, Mississippi, during the early sixties, and not in emulation of the "Black Panther squads" of the U.S. Army's special forces division. He also wondered how all the low-money people in America, not just blacks, were reacting to the Party's alien titles of "Chairman" and "Minister of Defense" assumed by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton.

These were only minor details when one considered that the Black Panther Party was not fundamentally a black racist organization, not racist at all. They worked hard in the Bay Area black community to teach the people their rights, especially their right and duty to defend themselves against brutalization by the "racist power structure." They did this by patrolling the black neighborhoods on weekend nights with loaded weapons to make sure the people weren't terrorized or murdered by some "racist pigs" or local "coon-hunters," the way they usually were in Oakland on Friday and Saturday nights. Their concern for self-defense, with arming the people, and with guns branded them undesirable to the moderate and cultural nationalist black organizations, but that was okay with them because as far as they were concerned all them "Negroes" and "jive-ass esoteric motherfuckers" weren't taking care of the needs of [end page 309]


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