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Black History Month: Social Service Pioneers III

By / February 28, 2019 / , / 0 Comments

As  Black History Month comes to an end, we’re going to highlight one more radical and incredible group of people worthy of mention for Black History Month. The Black Panther Party may have been painted as a Black nationalist militant group, but the truth is they were very much the opposite. The Black Panther Party was responsible for creating many programs for black communities that were always under-served. The Lunch Program, Health Clinics, Youth Institute, Seniors Against Fearful Environment (SAFE), People’s Free Ambulance Service, are only a few of the many programs the Party created to help support their community(1).  Did you know that federal programs such as WIC and School Breakfast Programs were inspired by the Black Panther Party (2)?

In 1969  throughout the early 1970’s the Black Panther Party fed thousands of children through the Free Breakfast for Shcool Children Program (2). Initially, the Black Panthers group organized neighborhood police patrol in Oakland to protect its neighbor hood from police brutality, but the party eventually grew to provide social services as well. The Free Breakfast program was started by member Stokeley Carmicheal, and it began serving breakfast out of an Episcopal Church in Oakland to a handful of children, which quickly grew (2).   School faculty noticed an immense difference in the children receiving free breakfasts. It was not long before free breakfasts were served nationwide though all Black Panther Party outposts. The program was so successful but was unfortunately cancelled due to the dismantlement of the Black Panther Party by the FBI head J. Edgar Hoover, who deemed the party a threat and went lenghts to ruin the groups public image by claiming they were a racist group (2).  Other programs the Party ran included a free bus program that would take people to visit their loved ones that were incarcerated, free food programs for people who could not afford groceries, and the Black Student Alliance (1).  All in all many of the programs that the Party created were beneficial to the black communities everywhere. Because of the immense success of these programs posed as a major threat the federal government, the party was dismantled and as a result some of their programs were ended; although the food programs ended under the Party, they set an example that federal programs follow today.





Sources: 1, 2,


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