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Black Panther Party

by J. Christopher Schutz, 2006

Black Panther Convention, Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C., June 19, 1970.The Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland, Calif., in October 1966. The controversial organization espoused black pride and black control of neighborhood institutions, preached self-defense against alleged police brutality in African American communities, and developed educational and food programs for the local black poor. The Black Panther Party quickly drew national media attention, and chapters formed in such cities as Chicago, New York City, Des Moines, and Denver.

In North Carolina, Greensboro had some Black Panther adherents, and Charlotte supporters formed the Afro-American Unity Organization, which failed to receive official recognition by the Oakland party headquarters. Benjamin Black Panther Convention, Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C., June 19, 1970. Chavis, a future defendant in the Wilmington Ten case, served as an officer in the short-lived Charlotte organization. It was Winston-Salem, however, that became home to the state's most organized Panther chapter, which operated a Free Breakfast for Children program; provided free clothing, free ambulance service, and classes in black consciousness; and held small rallies to promote its causes. The Winston-Salem office also established a satellite Community Information Center in nearby High Point, where a local police officer was wounded during a gun battle in February 1971.

Wherever it settled, including in Charlotte and Winston-Salem, the Black Panther Party attracted the heavy scrutiny of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The bureau did not close its counterintelligence program files on the Black Panthers in North Carolina until the mid-1970s. By then, the Winston-Salem chapter, like many other Black Panther affiliates nationwide, was badly hampered by lack of funds, internal dissension, and the incarceration of its members.


Philip S. Foner, ed., The Black Panthers Speak (2002).

Image Credit:

Black Panther Convention, Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C., June 19, 1970. Image courtesy of Library of Congress. Available from (accessed September 19, 2012).

Black Panther Convention, Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C., June 19, 1970. Image courtesy of Library of Congress.Available from (accessed September 19, 2012).

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How do I get a member of the BLACK PANTHERS to represent me in a legal matter in charlotte nc?


I am reaching out to see if your group would be interested in spearheading an effort in NC to make the state a 2nd Amendment sanctuary state. I know there are other groups that would join such an effort and your group could hold great political sway in the NC legislature. I have been sending out requests to NC politicians and Mark Robinson the Lt. Governor is likely to be interested in that effort. Please consider it as right now we are all targets of the growing federal authoritarian govt.

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