The New Black Panthers
founded by Aaron Michaels in 1990 in Dallas, Texas. later moved to its current headquarters in Washington, D.C. Michaels at the time was a radio producer and community activist influenced by the original radical group for which it's named The Black Panthers.
To start at the beginning, and to offer to the best of my ability, a condensed clear understanding of the roots of the panther movement and those keys players in its conception. The year was 1966. The place was Oakland, California where a group of Marxist (Marxism is a theoretical system geared toward social and economic change) militant (aggressive person or party, warring) black Nationalists
(self-determination or independence from white society) form to fight for civil rights against repression.
Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, the original founders of The Black Panthers, were able to gain 5,000 members with over twenty chapters of the group across the country. During this time the group experienced a number of conflicts with police resulting in the deaths of Black Panther members as well as police. However, the group had lost most of its steam by the 1970's. One original member was elected to the Milwaukee City Council in 1987 - Michael McGee. From the press post of his office he announced the formation of The Black Panther Militia
. Organizing local gangs, their mission as McGee stated,
"Would be to engage in violence, armed combat, and urban guerrilla warfare."
It is during this time, McGee is working to spread the word and start new chapters, that Aaron Michaels is introduced to the movement. Not much is written on what ever happened to McGee's Black Panther Militia; one can only speculate that the movement had been assimilated into The New Black Panthers Party (NBPP). With the formation of the new party, I feel it's important to understand the role the Islamic influence had.
A key figure in bringing the word of Islam to the NBPP
was Khalid Abdul Muhammad who had been spokesperson for the party The Nation of Islam (NOI). The NOI is a religious group formed in 1930 to promote the spiritual belief that God will install a worldwide government of peace. This group believes there is no other god but Allah and that the black man is a true human and the white man has yet to evolve. In addition, they share The New Black Panthers sediment of separatism. The NOI has had notable members such as Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X.
Khalid Abdul Muhammad survived an attempt on his life while giving a speech at UCLA. Muhammad went to Dallas to recuperate from a leg wound received during the attempt where he met Aaron Michaels and soon joined the high ranks of the party. Once again the party, mainly Muhammad, traveled around the country to spread the word of the party and to siphon off young members of the NOI. In his effort, Muhammad was able to secure the support of Reverend Al Sharpton
It wasn't long after a historic gathering in New York City in 1998 where he had instructed the crowd to
" with the police that Muhammad was elected National Chairman of the Party and Aaron took on a lesser role. At this point The New Black Panther party has been labeled an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center
(SPLC). The SPLC has long been a strong advocate for civil rights.
On February 17, 2002, the party would be forced to change leadership again with the sudden death of 53 year old Muhammad who had suffered a brain aneurysm. The new voice of the movement was Malik Zulu Shabazz who was Muhammad's second in command. He remains the leader of the party today following in the racist, anti-Semitic, violent footsteps as his predecessor. The New Black Panther Party has no interest in the teachings or charity of the original Black Panthers and continues to make news. In May 2007, New Black Panther Leader Shabazz was denied entry into Canada
. Shabazz was expected to give a speech to Black Youth Action at Queen's Park in Toronto. He was stopped at the airport. Reasons given at the time was because of past incidents and their conflict with Canadian hate laws. Not satisfied with his denial, Shabazz tried again at the border and once again was denied entry.
Most recently the NBPP has been in the news when it was brought to light that they supposedly had been involved in voter intimidation in Philadelphia in 2008. The group claimed at the time to be security, but rescinded this statement on their website NewBlackPanther.org
; now, saying no intimidation of any kind took place. Although there were charges against the Black Panthers by The Department of Justice, they were later dropped and the members involved received a slap on the wrist. It was during this time when a NBPP Philadelphia leader Minister King Samir Shabazz
was filmed saying,
"You want freedom? You're gonna have to kill some crackers" You're gonna have to kill some of their babies! I hate white people - all of them! Every last iota of a cracker, I hate 'em."
Shabazz was quoted in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer saying,
"I'm about the total destruction of white people. I'm about the total liberation of black people. I hate white people. I hate my enemy...."
On July 17th of this year, the group planned a march in protest of the dragging-lynching of Anthony Hill where they were joined by seven other protesting groups. Atty. Malik Zulu Shabazz was the key note speaker.
On further investigation of the group's website, I discovered their ten point platform "borrowed" from the original Black Panthers. These ten points lay out what they want from the American government.
Here are their demands:
1. Freedom to practice self-determination (a phrase they use a lot in their teachings).
2. Full employment.
3. Tax exemption (and full reparation).
4. Decent housing (free health care).
6. Exemption from military service.
7. An end to brutality and murder of black people.
8. Freedom for all blacks held in all jails worldwide.
9. Trial jury's made up of people from the black communities.
10. No death penalty for blacks.
The website also promotes "study guides" for members such as Blueprint for Black Power by Amos N. Wilson, Age of Propaganda (The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion) by Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson, and Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon.
On August 9th, I attempted to contact The New Black Panthers headquarters by e-mail and phone; neither of which was answered. This group is not as unique as they would lead the public to believe. To date the Southern Poverty Law Center
recognizes 932 active hate groups in the U.S. According to the SPLC there are four branches of the Nation of Islam in Ohio including one in Youngstown along with one black separatists group. Texas currently holds the record for total number of groups in one state followed by California. The New Black Panthers, Skinheads, Nation of Islam, White Supremacists, Neo-Nazi's and others continue to grow as shall our awareness of their threat to America.