Let’s reminisce a little… I’m an O.G. (older gentleman) and as I recollect, I remember the 70s being my favorite decade, and I will tell you why. The music, the club scene, the dances, and so on – and I could just go on, and on. Why this particular time, rather than some others was more enjoyable to me personally, is easy to explain.
Ladies and fellow O.G.s, Step Into the FUNK with me and recall a period in time, where dynamics of discrimination, prejudice and racial upheavals, took a turn for our people compared to what we faced in the 60s. These were trying times for the poor and uneducated, no matter what color, creed, or race. But especially for the black population in general, and yet still we chase and strive for the dream and vision of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and Elijah Muhammad. During that time, it was them who were there to lead us politically, but there were other brothers who presented a more hands on approach. The Black Panther Party for Self Defense (BPP). The BPP was created as a direct result of racial in-equality issues within the black community. Founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California on October 15th 1966, 48 years ago.
Considered an African-American party, willing to speak for all who felt oppressed, whatever minority group or background. They had Four FUNKY Righteous basic desires: A) Equality in Education; B) Housing; C) Employment; D) Civil Rights. From these basic desires, a 10 point platform party platform was established:
2) Full employment, giving every person a job or guaranteed income
3) An end to robberies in black communities
4) Decent housing
5) Education for the people, including lessons that teach the true history, of black people and the black diaspora — Discussing their roles in present day life.
6) Free health care for everyone (Long before Obama Care and Romney in MA) 7) An end to police brutality and murder of black people and other oppressed people of color (Long before Furguson, Amadou Diallo and Rodney King)
8) End all wars of aggression
9) Freedom of all political prisoners, trials by juries that represent our peers
10) Land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace, community control of modern industry
As you can see, the BPP condemned the racial disparities not being addressed by federal, state and city governments. Upon the realization that support and funding was not forthcoming, by any conventional means, they proceeded to take a more pro-active approach. These methods proved to be moderately successful at achieving their goals. Subsequently, these successes and the BPP themselves, were labeled as militant and anti-American – Public Enemy #1. This tactic of misinformation, was orchestrated by J. Edgar Hoover, head of the F.B. I. at the time. Mr. Hoover is quoted as saying, “the BPP is the greatest threat to the internal security of the USA.” He ordered his field agents to infiltrate the BPP, with the malicious intentions of deconstructing the foundations of the party. One particular operative of the F.B.I., Wm. O. Neal, was able to become Chief of Security of the BPP. Consequently with this subterfuge, the feds were able to undermine the movement, in urban cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. They were depicted through national media as being armed and dangerous – Black men with terroristic tendencies against America. That false perception was polarized through the media across the country, influenced by Mr. Hoover. Even as we have an African-American president today, how much have times really changed? The polarization of Whites VS. Blacks still flourishes. Just look at recent incidents in Florida, Missouri, Texas, L-A and New York, just to name a few.
I believe I will end this installment for now, but will have more impressions in the near future. The anniversary of the Black Panther Party just occurred, but as challenges persist, we shall endure.
Peace & Love
James Steven Daniels is our newest contributor for the Museum Of UnCut Funk. Stevie, as he is known to family and friends will be sharing his thoughts on music, history, politics and so much more. We are proud and delighted to have our cousin join us at the Museum Of UnCut Funk.