The Black Panther Party just closed out its 50th anniversary year. On this occasion, the Intersectional Black Panther Party History Project spoke with Panther women about leadership, electoral politics and what we should be doing today.
The year 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party (BPP). Facing repression and at great sacrifice, more than 5,000 mostly young Black people joined the BPP between the 1960s and ‘70s to work for “land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace.” They built institutions, ran electoral campaigns, created social programs, transformed culture and tried to create a framework of justice that would impact oppressed people worldwide.
One often-overlooked component of the Panthers was the leadership of women. At one point, women made up the majority of the BPP’s membership but their contributions are frequently written out of history.
We at the Intersectional Black Panther Party History Project believe there is value in amplifying the voices of Black women who served on the front lines of the BPP. We asked former members of the now-defunct organization to provide guideposts for activists responding to this political moment and to share their thoughts about how Donald Trump’s election could impact communities of color.