BPP Serve the People Programs

Founded by Huey P. Newton
and Bobby Seale,
In October 1966
the people’s weapon to wield.

The Black Panther Party
for Self Defense,
To defend and serve poor communities
it made perfect sense.

Patrolling the cops with guns and law books
giving legal advice,
So the people knew
when the pigs were infringing their rights.

Created dozens of programs
to meet community needs,
Including free breakfast
so hungry children could receive

Healthy meals
Families couldn’t afford,
And helped clean up the neighborhoods
neglected by slumlords.

Safe escorts for seniors
to and from their homes,
So they didn’t have to collect
food and funds all alone.

Free ambulance services
even their own news media,
And free clinics to test
for sickle cell anemia.

And this at a time
when the system didn’t provide,
Any testing at all
from which many poor Blacks died.

The party wasn’t a weapon
but a survival tool,
It even created for the children
its own liberation schools.

A free shoe factory
free groceries free clothes,
80% community approval
above any pig party at the polls.

In fact the Panthers weren’t
a party of the bougie type,
That engage in political theater
empty rhetoric and hype.

They maintained offices
right where the people lived,
And were available when problems arose
to serve and give.

Whatever help was needed
they kept boots on the ground,
Leading by example
they could always be found…

At the head of any resistence
any protest on the street,
Leading the struggle to liberate
the ground under the people’s feet.

The Panthers struck terror
in the halls of power,
So that minute by minute
and hour by hour…

The pigs devised to destroy them
concocted devious plans,
To attack them with every resource and weapon
at their command.

The FBI led the attack
with its counterintelligence program,
Even applying subversions used against
foreign enemies in Vietnam.

And it wasn’t because of any violent tendencies
as their propaganda deceives,
It was because the Panthers
taught poor people how to meet their own needs

And this through cooperation
which stopped internal strife,
Improved the quality
of community life.

The pigs couldn’t accept this
couldn’t let the people be,
It was too much like
letting slaves be free.

So they had to sabotage the panthers
subvert their community work,
Paint them as thugs
claimed they aimed to hurt…

The cops with guns
and violent attacks,
But it was the pigs who attacked them
shot panthers in the backs;

Outright assassinations
like Chairman Fred,
Who they drugged and murdered
as he lay asleep in bed.

Trumped up criminal charges
and bogas arrests,
To remove the leadership of the Party
render the body headless.

But the Panthers survived
for years under this war of attrition,
Because the people themselves
were its arms and ammunition.

And since its decline
there has been continued struggle for a sequel,
To revive the party and its platform
to win all power to the people!



Poem and art by Kevin ”Rashid” Johnson


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