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The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP) was formed by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California, during the fall of 1966. While for many the image of the BPP remains one of violence associated with young, gun-wielding black males adorned with black berets and leather jackets, the ten-point program outlined by Newton and Seale included a broader agenda focusing on such issues as housing, education, employment, police brutality, and reformation of the legal system. The BPP asserted the right for blacks to defend themselves against the police and called for a socialist revolution in the United States. Yet, this revolutionary rhetoric was coupled with community programs to address sickle-cell anemia and provide breakfasts for the elderly and impoverished children.

Although the BPP became a ...

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