THE BLACK PANTHERS The Black Panthers, an organization of radical and political views, was founded in 1966 in Oakland, California. Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale's original goal when they first founded this organization was to protect the African American's from police actions that many blacks considered brutality. When they first established this group, it was named the Black Panther Party. This Self Defense label did eventually drop from their name not to long after the organization became known. Over time, the group began to favor violent revolution, if necessary to bring out change in society. During the middle 1960's the Black Panthers began to work with the white radical and revolutionary groups that shared their goals.

This often caused major violent disagreements between the police and African Americans. In 1972, Black Panther, Elmer Pratt, was convicted of a robbery-related murder and sentenced to 27 years imprisonment. Pratt was announced in the Times Daily as a Vietnam War Hero, and he was admired for his charisma and warrior spirit. It also stated that as an opinion Pratt was framed for the murder by the authorities because he dared to stand up for his people as the leader of the Black Panther Party.

Pratt's lawyer, Johnnie L. Cochran, was well convinced that Pratt would not receive a fair trail. With the help of Pratt, Mr. Cochran helped the public understand how the Black Panthers help the black communities in need. Stating that the Black Panthers are a group of black people who mixed black, nationalism and socialism, shotguns, free breakfast programs for children, medical clinics, and free schools for the black community. Although never proven anything but guilty, it is very possible that Pratt was innocent of murder.

And in later investigation it was found that the FBI did have an interest in neutralizing Pratt as an effective Black Panther Party functionary. More detailed investigation was done over this trail trying to find the real answers beyond the walls of the courthouse. Only to be informed of 28 other police / Black Panther murders or violent, physical disagreements had already occurred. After spending almost 30 years in jail for a robbery-related murder that Elmer Pratt still denies committing, he has been released on bail.

In many studies and investigations it has been found that Superior Court Judge Everett W. Dickey reversed Pratt's conviction for the supposed murder to sway the jury in the favor of Pratt. Basically saying that the Judge withheld information from the court. Pratt's attorney comments that Pratt's conviction was unlawful and corrupt. Elmer Pratt may still be retried, almost giving him a better opportunity of getting a fair trail. Most people know that this case will renew old memories of a time that many in California and the nation would rather forget.

Which was a period of bitterness and bloodshed between the Black Panther Party and the law enforcement officials. Today, you can go to Oakland, California and ride on the Black Panther Legacy tour bus. This tour offers society the chance to get a close look at the neighborhood where Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton first started the Panthers in the fall of 1966. The bus tour was started about one year ago by the former chief of staff for the Panthers, David Hilliard. Today the Panther's image is one of peace.

The organization finds many different ways to protect African Americans and their people when in need. The Black Panthers have come a long way from their first day of establishment. Let us not forget the work they have had to go through to help us as Americans get to where we are today.