by Kurt Schaefer
Seattle branch of the Black Panther Party was the first group established
outside of the state of California. Its
existence is an illustration of how peripheral branches of an organization
would both adhere and diverge from the program established by the
national headquarters. The
evidence suggests that the Seattle Panthers often respected the Party’s
national leadership and worked hard to follow the national agenda.
However, to say that the Seattle BPP was completely dependent on
Oakland’s guidance and dictates would be an error.
The behavior of the Seattle BPP was also influenced by its local leadership and
local circumstances in the city of Seattle.
and a half years before the start of the Seattle chapter, the Black
Panther Party was born in Oakland, California. Huey Newton and Bobby Seale started the organization on October 15,
1966, and it was originally called the Black Panther Party for Self
Defense. Its goal was to
prevent police brutality as well as establish a new social, political, and
economic order, heavily based upon Marxist doctrine, to improve the Black
community. These goals were
spelled out in the Panthers’ Ten-Point Program.
It contained ten demands for Black power, independence, access,
protection, and rights. In
effect, it was a demand for equal participation for Blacks in every aspect
of American society.
Aaron Dixon notes that the Ten Point Program was the framework for
BPP chapters across the nation. All
activities were to fall within the realm of that mission and weekly
reports were sent to Oakland to inform personnel at the headquarters how
the Seattle Panthers were adhering to that program.
Dixon adds some discretion was allowed.
But for the most part the Seattle Panthers did not diverge far from
the goals and expectations of the Oakland branch.
This was due in part to the Seattle leaderships’ belief in the
worth of the BPP program. Members
of the Seattle Panthers even helped create some of these strategies.
Elmer Dixon recalled:
was a close connection [between Seattle and Oakland].
We often would travel the I-5 Corridor, it was our subway to the
Bay Area and we’d often go there two or three times a month, if not more
often, just to sit down and talk shop with Bobby.
[We’d] talk about strategy and what we’re going to do [and]
what direction we were heading.
Panther agenda involved constant training.
Members were expected to become experts in weapons usage and they
were also required to attend political education classes.
Upon being accepted into the party, each member had to participate
in a six-week training program that included reading a list of twenty five
books. One of the Dixons’
tasks was to organize and run these classes.
Aaron Dixon stated that they were “used to make sure that
everybody understood the ideology of the party and that we were on the
same page in terms of the theory and the rules of the party.”
It was the goal of the party, Dixon said, to have informed and
members was one of the Party’s most important tasks early on, and one of
the target groups was Huey Newton’s notion of the lumpen.
Newton had incorporated significant portions of Marxist theory into
the BPP program. Marx had
discussed the existence of the lumpen proletariat, which he defined as the
lowest order of society, the criminals, prostitutes, and malcontents of
Marx eschewed their participation in any socialist movements due to
what he believed was the lumpen’s inability to take direction.
Newton understood the lumpen in a different light by applying a
more liberal definition to the group.
He believed that the extremely poor who tried to earn a living
wage but could not because the shortcomings of capitalism were also part
of the lumpen. Newton believed
that it would be from this social stratum that the BPP-led revolution
would find its most dedicated followers.
Dixon guesses that early on some 300 hundred applications were made to the
Seattle BPP. Among these
potential members were a large number of Seattle’s “lumpen.”
He stated that many who joined the BPP were friends
of his and were good organizers as well as serious and devoted members.
However, the lumpen also introduced a criminal element to the party
that was detrimental to the organization.
“A lot of people couldn’t change old behaviors and even though
we read and studied, we still didn’t have anything to address a lot of
the negative elements….” Dixon
added that one of the tenets of the party as listed in the Ten Point
Program was to never steal property from the masses.
Yet, some BPP members still ended up committing crimes such as
robbery, vandalism, and assault. These
activities tainted the reputation of the entire organization and were
fodder for critics who saw such behavior as evidence that the Party was
more of a street gang than a civil rights organization.
Of course, there were applicants from outside the lumpen who sought
membership in the Party. One
such person was Leon Valentine Hobbs.
Hobbs was raised in east New York City.
He states, “I grew up
with morals…. Our parents
were very conservative. We
were taught to respect authority…. We
knew right from wrong. Most of
[my friends] had mothers and fathers….My mother didn’t even work
because my father was in the navy and made a good salary.”
Hobbs said that living in a northern city and coming from a
“good” family did not shield him from the affects of racism.
He remembered hearing of Blacks being killed in New Jersey.
His parents tried to dissuade their children from associating with
white people. “We knew our
history and it’s like stay in your place.
My great grandfather was killed in Macon, Georgia.
[We were] watching our leaders getting wiped out…getting shot
down in the streets....[As] we grew up that is what we saw.”
Hobbs’ most striking experience with racism occurred while he was
a young man serving in the army. At
Ft. Dix, in New Jersey, he was called a “nigger” and was then locked
up when he took offense. He
was likewise angered by a stint at a military post in Georgia.
“We could not even go off the [post] because they were still
killing and lynching black soldiers if they were caught off base.
They still had separate bathrooms and water fountains…in
Georgia….And here we are getting ready to go [to Vietnam] to fight.
So what am I fighting for?”
Hobbs’ experiences with racism had steered him toward the
separatist ideas of Malcolm X. For
Hobbs, white America had given little indication that it was concerned
with black rights. He believed
strongly that integration was anathema to black welfare and progress.
Hobbs came to Seattle in 1969 when he was hired to work in the
Model Cities program. He first
met Aaron and Elmer Dixon while in the midst of a contentious discussion
concerning the BPP’s use of allies.
Hobbs was attending a birthday celebration for Huey Newton being
held at a club in Seattle. While
there he had a run-in with a White Panther leader.
Hobbs recalled, “I was asking [the White Panther] questions.
What are you going to do when the white people come down, when
things get thick? You are
going to thin out, right?” At
that point, Hobbs said Aaron Dixon approached him.
“Aaron...tried to explain to me about the coalition.
I said, ‘Man, I don’t care about no coalition….’
I wasn’t in the Party then, [but] I was for Black people.
Aaron said we’re for Black people too, but we need to care about
all oppressed people in the country.”
Aaron Dixon’s argument was in line with Newton’s belief in the
creation of an alliance of disaffected people.
Newton, and others within the Party, concluded that for the BPP to
succeed, especially politically, a large membership was necessary.
Newton believed that there were numerous segments of the
America’s disaffected population, who might be willing to unite with the
Panthers and their agenda. These
groups included the Peace and Freedom Party, the White Panthers, women’s
and gay groups, the Brown Berets (Chicano), and the Young Lords (Puerto
At the same time the Panthers were adamant critics of Black
cultural nationalism espoused by groups such as United Slaves (US).
said that he continued to talk to the Dixons and became interested in the
Party. He recalled that he was
“intrigued with the Ten Point Program….
As human beings we have a right to housing, clothing, shelter,
medical care and anything everybody else is supposed to have.”
Hobbs knew that if he wanted to join, he had to compromise his
anti-integration beliefs. He
said other Panthers shared his point of view, but he adds, “Everybody
finally realized that we were all going in the same direction and we
should not let…certain ideas that you have take you off the course.
I understood that we needed coalitions because we are in a
predominantly white country….[Still] I was not very trusting of white
willingness to temper his personal inclinations in order to fit the
requisites of the BPP represents some of the decisions that members had to
make regarding the alignment of personal and Party ideals.
These same decisions had to be made at the institutional level.
Seattle was not Oakland so not all of the dictates emanating from
headquarters were transferable. Thus,
there were incidents large and small where the local branch took its own
counsel and acted accordingly. One
involved a visit by the BPP to Seattle’s Rainier Beach High School.
It is illustrative of the role that the Seattle Panthers came to
find themselves as having within the community.
It also exemplifies a level of autonomy that a local chapter could
have. Aaron Dixon stated that
after the Seattle BPP had first opened its office it received a large
number of telephone calls from people within the Central Area who would
ask the Panthers to attend to various problems such as landlord issues,
domestic violence, and numerous other problems that arose in a typical
community. Dixon said that he
and his fellow Panthers became overwhelmed by these requests so he
eventually spoke to Bobby Seale about it.
Seale said the BPP was not the police and therefore should not be
responding to those types of calls. Dixon
said the Panthers therefore began to ignore requests.
This moratorium did not last. Dixon
said the office started to receive calls from a particular woman whose son
was being accosted by white students at Rainier Beach High School.
During her first call she was told that there was nothing that the
Panthers could do. But she
proceeded to call day after day. Then
one day she called and it was obvious she was in tears.
Around the same time three other mothers called and voiced the same
concerns. Dixon said there
were over a dozen Panthers in the office when this particular set of calls
came in and they decided to take action.
So they grabbed their guns, piled into several cars, and drove to
Rainier Beach. When they got
there the Panthers walked into the school with their weapons and found the
principal. Dixon said they
told him why they were there and that he needed to start protecting
students. Dixon said he
assured the principal that if the Panthers received more calls regarding
the problem, they would return. Before
long the police arrived but the Panthers left without incident.
visit by the armed Panthers provoked an outcry.
One newspaper accused the Panthers of responding to “rumors.”
Seattle’s Mayor, J.D. Braman, charged the Panthers with
vigilantism by “taking the law into their own hands.”
The mayor also painted the Panthers as a threat to stability.
“It has boiled down to about one or two percent of our black
population causing all our racial troubles.
This cannot be tolerated. I
am very proud of the vast majority of our black population for their
cooperative attitudes. But
people who seek trouble are in for trouble.”
Numerous parents of predominantly white Rainier Beach students
planned a boycott of the school to protest the BPP’s appearance.
One parent stated, “Something should be done to prevent the Black
Panthers from walking into school grounds carrying rifles.”
said, he also received comments from
’s Panthers. “When [BPP]
headquarters found out about this [incident], they thought we were pretty
wild and crazy.” Despite
these reactions, Dixon said the Party’s action was effective.
They never received another call from the mother of the victim.
illustrating the Seattle BPP’s occasional autonomy, the Rainier Beach
incident was also emblematic of the Panthers’ use of the gun as a
practical and symbolic means to realize their goals.
From the very beginning of the Party’s existence in Oakland, the
gun was used as a tool for self-defense as well as an iconic
representation of the Panthers’ commitment to their program.
This symbolism overshadowed virtually every other characteristic
the Party had.
use of the gun was born of necessity.
One of the first priorities of the Oakland BPP was to put a halt to
police violence in the Black sections of Oakland.
To do this, Black Panthers would patrol the streets of Oakland
carrying a firearm and a law book. Their
strategy was to appear at incidents that involved blacks and police to
make sure that they followed the letter of the law.
Besides openly carrying guns, the Panthers also dressed in black
leather jackets and berets. They
held weapons training sessions and drilled in public.
The group purposely projected an armed, militant persona, and the
media eagerly portrayed them in that manner.
One observer noted, “These guys weren’t like the Elijah
Muhammad guys, who would sell you a two-week-old paper and laugh behind
your back. They weren’t
like…Martin Luther King or any of the others.
These guys were scary.”
The BPP’s portrayal as armed militants grew out of its rhetoric,
platform, and armed confrontations between Panthers and the police.
For example, in 1967, Newton was involved in a shootout with
Oakland police, in which he was wounded and one officer died.
Then, of course, there was the shootout with Oakland police that
resulted in the death of Bobby Hutton.
In reality, the Panther’s use of the gun represented but one
aspect of the Party. The move away from that symbol, in 1969,
indicates an evolution within the Party.
This change in policy was not welcomed by all of the BPP chapters
in the country, but it was generally embraced in Seattle.
Dixons recognize that the armed persona of the BPP was controversial and
did present problems for the Party. Still,
for both men there was value in its application.
Aaron Dixon said, “The virtue was that people knew that we were
really serious…and we were ready to defend ourselves and use our weapons
if we had to.”
Elmer Dixon adds that the gun indicated that:
[black Americans] were no longer going to be hosed by police, bitten by
police dogs, bombed in our churches….
We were a symbol. The
impression we wanted to give was that we were not cowards.
We were men….We were not going to beg for our rights….We were
trying to forge change by whatever means we could.
Hobbs echoed the Dixons in stating, “…Our lives were in danger
and…we had a human right to defend ourselves against bodily harm, as
opposed to when Martin Luther King…would demonstrate and people would
hit him…and sick dogs on them. We
weren’t going that way.”
Dixon concedes that despite the power of the gun’s symbolism, it did
have its obviously negative aspects. Both
he and Elmer were arrested numerous times as the police constantly were
watching them and stopping them for minor traffic violations.
Elmer Dixon adds that the situation also cast an aspect of fatalism
upon the Panther members. He
said that when he joined the Party at age seventeen,
had two bodyguards who were with me most times and I had to carry a gun
with me every place I went….I knew I was a target and I could be killed
at any moment….I had police hold guns to my head and people call my
mother in the middle of the night and say, ‘We’re going to kill that
nigger son of yours.’ I
don’t think any of us thought we would live past twenty-five….
Because of the negative attention armed militancy brought to the
Party, Aaron Dixon said that the BPP realized that such an image had a
shelf life. “In a very short
period of time it became somewhat clear that persona was doing us more
harm than good. This led the
party to change tactics.” He
said the party put away its uniforms and guns and tried to give the
appearance of a more “mainstream” organization.
Dixon believes this was the right move because it fostered
relations within the community. People
came to see that the Party was not focused on violence but on confronting
transformation of the Black Panther Party away from the symbolism of the
gun to that of what Dixon called a “mainstream” organization took
place around 1969. While Huey
Newton was in prison for his 1967 shootout with police he called for a new
strategy based upon his theory of Intercommunialism.
Part of this strategy included the establishment of survival
programs which were designed to help the Black community gain the
confidence that it could take care of itself, as well as help people
within the community obtain their basic needs.
Once basic needs were addressed the community could concentrate on
more abstract concerns like political theory.
Seattle BPP was supportive of the idea of survival programs and displayed
both its unity with the Oakland BPP and its independence by actively
developing and creating these programs in the Central Area of the city.
One immediate consequence in this shift in emphasis was a schism
that occurred among the Panther Party at both the national and local
levels. In Oakland, Eldridge
Cleaver believed that escalating rather than minimizing the Party’s
armed militancy was the more appropriate path, and thus broke with Newton
and Seale. This schism was to
have violent ramifications. A
less contentious split took place in Seattle.
The Dixons and several of their fellow members, including Leon
Hobbs, decided that the vision of Newton and Seale made sense.
But, numerous members of the Seattle branch of the BPP were
unwilling or unable to jettison the use of the gun from their day-to-day
activities so they were expelled from the Party.
the split, Elmer Dixon believes this change in focus was for the better.
“There’s no way we could win an armed revolt, so it wasn’t
about having an armed revolt it was about having a mental revolt…so that
we changed the mentality of the people in the community where they would
in fact stand up for their rights and take control…within their
Aaron Dixon believed that the survival programs were an affective
alternative because they not only benefited the community, but they helped
soften the image of the BPP, which gave the Party more community support.
According to Aaron Dixon, the survival programs were something that
the government should have been doing all along.
“…We were exposing the contradictions in this country.”
Seattle survival programs were designed to provide marginalized members of
Central Area with basic needs for survival.
But though the Party phased out its open display of firearms, it
still maintained a high degree of militancy.
A case in point was the Seattle Party’s attempt to procure
donations for their breakfast program.
Elmer Dixon recalled challenging Central Area Safeway grocery
stores to become more active in giving back to the community.
He said that the Seattle Panthers had concluded that Safeway was
profiting handsomely due to the patronage of Central Area customers.
In return the company should therefore donate eggs and sausage for
children’s breakfasts. In
July of 1969, Elmer Dixon presented a letter requesting $100 each week for
the breakfast programs. The
letter added that if the stores did not comply, the Party would raise the
request by $25 each week.
The stores rebuffed the demand so the Party set up pickets and
attempted to institute boycotts.
Safeway management reported that after the BPP request was denied,
Aaron Dixon stood outside the stores with a megaphone, chastising the
company and making threats. Also,
some vandalism was incurred at the stores after the BPP request was
denied, though there was no official link made between the BPP and the
of the most significant and groundbreaking survival programs created by
the Seattle BPP was the establishment of a Central Area medical clinic.
The responsibility for this program was given to Leon Hobbs.
Hobbs admitted that he had no experience in such an endeavor before
he got started.
was getting arrested a lot and someone said we have got to direct this
guy’s energy in a positive direction….Not that what I was doing was
not positive, but there was a lot of confrontation with the police….So
Aaron and the Central Committee said they wanted a medical clinic, [and] I
was given the task, to organize it.
of the first concerns was gathering funding and supplies.
Since the BPP did not allow itself to accept any federal monies,
all financial resources had to come from private donors. Hobbs said he did
a lot of asking and his requests bore fruit.
Hobbs believes the amount of the donations served to show the level
of community support that the BPP was able to procure.
Aside from contributions from groups and individuals within
Seattle’s medical community and private sectors, he was also able to
receive money from entertainers Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Greg Morrison,
and Buddy Miles. Hobbs also
adds that funding, material, time, and expertise donations came from white
as well as black sources. He
explains that the clinic started small, beginning with well-baby checkups
a couple of times each week, and soon added adult care.
According to Hobbs, one of the most important contributions of the
clinic was the establishment of a sickle cell anemia testing and genetic
counseling program. Bobby
Seale stated that the Seattle sickle cell testing program was the most
affective of all of the BPP’s sickle cell programs in the nation.
The clinic is still in existence in the Central Area and today it
is known as the Carolyn Downs Medical Center.
the creation of the survival programs in Seattle, it could be argued that
the Dixons had not really diverged from the methodology of Larry Gossett
and the BSU after all. As
previously stated, it became clear in the minds of Panther members in both
Oakland and Seattle that the public display of firearms could be
detrimental to the organization’s ultimate goal of a political and
economic presence in American society.
So alterations to the Party’s public persona were made.
The guns were not discarded, but they were tucked away from the
public’s view. However,
public perceptions of the Panthers did not change as quickly as their
methodology did. As a
consequence there remained calls for the destroying the Panthers at the
national and local levels.
Part 3: The Panthers and the Politicians
Kurt Schaefer 2005
“The Ten-Point Program @ http://www.marxists.org/history/usa/workers/black-panthers/1966/10/15.htm
Aaron Dixon Interview.
Elmer Dixon Interview.
Aaron Dixon Interview.
Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto, edited by Frederic L
Bender, New York: WW Norton and Co., 1988, 65.
For a more in-depth discussion on the lumpen see:
Chris Booker, “Lumpenization: A Critical Error of the Black
Pantehr Party,” In The Black Party Reconsidered, edited by
Charles E. Jones, 337-362. Baltimore: Black Classic Press, 1998, 341,
345, and Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar, Black Power: Radical Politics and
African American Identity, 95-99.
See: “Rules of the Black
Panther Party”, rule number #8:
“No party member will commit any crimes against other party
members or black people at all, and cannot steal or take from the
people, not even a needle or a piece of thread.”
Aaron Dixon Interview.
Leon Valentine Hobbs, Interviewed by Kurt Kim Schaefer, February 25,
2005, Seattle, WA.
The White Panthers was a radical group started by Jon Sinclair in
Detroit. In 1968 Sinclair issued the “White Panther Party 10-Point
Program” that was somewhat analogous to the Black Panthers program.
Its first point in fact called for support of the Black
Panthers’ 10-Point Program. The
WPP unlike the BPP mixed attributes of the drug and music culture into
its agenda. See: Doug
Rossnow, “The White Panthers’ ‘total assult on the
culture,’” in Peter Braunstein and Michael William Doyle, Imagine
Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960s and ‘70s, New
York: Routledge, 2002.
Charles E. Jones and Judson L Jefferies, “’Don’t Believe the
Hype’: Debunking the Panther Mythology,” In The Black Panther
Party Reconsidered, edited by Charles E. Jones, 25-55, Baltimore:
Black Classic Press, 1998, 32.
This disagreement was to lead to violent confrontation with the US and
the BPP. United Slaves
(US) was led by Maulana Karenga. US
was based in Los Angeles, and in 1968 the BPP opened an office in that
city. US believed in Black
cultural nationalism, the idea that a return to African culture would
contribute to the realization of Black civil rights.
US had a militant wing known as the Simba Wachuka (Young
Lions). And US was
protective of its LA “turf.” When
the BPP appeared in L.A. a confrontation between the two groups
occurred on January 17, 1969. A
BSU meeting was being held at UCLA to discuss the hiring of a new
director for the school’s Black Studies program.
Some BPP and US members were students at the school and they
began to argue with each other. Guns
were drawn and two BPP members, John Huggins and Alprentice
“Bunchy” Carter, were killed.
See: Floyd Hayes and Francis A. Kiene, III, “All Power to the
People”: The Political Thought of Huey P. Newton and the Black
Panther Party,” In The Black Panther Party Reconsidered,
edited by Charles E. Jones, 156-176, Baltimore: Black Classic Press,
Leon Valentine Hobbs Interview.
Aaron Dixon Interview.
“Armed Panthers Appear at School,” Seattle Times, September
6, 1968, 1.
“Mayor Warns Black Panthers,” Seattle Times, September 13,
“Rainier Beach Parents Plan Boycott of School Tomorrow,” Seattle
Times, September 8, 1968, 19.
Aaron Dixon Interview.
Hugh Pearson, The Shadow of the Panther: Huey Newton and the Price
of Black Power in America, Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley, 1994,
Aaron Dixon Interview.
Judith Blake, “Panthers’ Progress,” Seattle Times,
October 24, 1986, E-6.
Leon Valentine Hobbs Interview.
Elmer Dixon Interview. In
fact two Seattle Panthers were killed due to confrontations with the
police: Sydney Miller who
died while involved in a robbery and Welton Armstead who was shot
while pointing a rifle at a police officer.
See: Youth Pointing
Rifle Slain by Policeman,” Seattle Post Intelligencer,
October 6, 1968, 1. and “Youth Fatally Shot in Struggle With
Police,” Seattle Times, October 6, 1968, 1.
Aaron Dixon Interview.
was the idea that capitalism had created a situation where neither
national boundaries nor national interests existed.
Newton theorized that corporate bodies had colonized nations
and regions creating a myriad of oppressed populations throughout the
globe. In response, Newton
believed that the oppressed needed to unite and attempt to reverse the
advances of the capitalist leviathan.
Newton and Seale concluded that before any revolution could
occur, the oppressed would need to have their basic physical and
psychological necessities taken care of.
From this belief emerged the Panther survival programs, which
represented a tangible shift from militancy to social assistance.
Abu-Jamal, “A Life in the Party: An Historical and Retrospective
Examination of the Projections and Legacies of the Black Panther
Party,” in Liberation, Imagination, and the Black Panther Party:
A New Look at the Panthers and Their Legacy, Editors Kathleen
Cleaver and George Katsiaficas, 40-50. Great Britain: Routledge, 2001,
49 and Hayes and Kiene, “All Power to the People”, 169-171.
JoNina M. Abron, “’Serving the People’: The Survival Programs of
the Black Panther Party,” In The Black Panther Party Reconsidered,
edited by Charles E. Jones, 177-192, Baltimore: Black Classic Press,
1998, 178-179, and Charles Jones and Judson Jeffereis, “Don’t
Believe the Hype”, 31. BPP
survival programs that were instituted by BPP chapters around the U.S.
included, free breakfast for school children, free clothing program,
free bussing to prisons, free medical care, The Black Panther
newspaper, sickle cell anemia testing, free pest control, free shoes,
free food, free ambulance rides, and a youth institute.
Elmer Dixon Interview.
Aaron Dixon Interview.
“Elmer Dixon; Black Panther Party Breakfast for Children Programs,
Seattle, WA, Information Concerning,” (F.B.I. File), July 30, 1969,
University of Washington Archives.
Elmer Dixon Interview.
Hearing Before the Committee on Internal Security, House of
Representatives (Black Panther Party, Part 2, Investigation of the
Seattle Chapter), May 12, 13, 14, and 20, 1970, 4332, 4366-4367.
Leon Hobbs Interview.
Bobby Seale, Interviewed by Kurt Kim Schaefer, May 14, 2005.
Leon Hobbs Interview.
explores the first three years of the Seattle chapter of the Black
Panther Party from its founding by Black Student Union members in 1968
through the 1970 crisis negotiated by Mayor Wes Uhlman. The essay is
presented in three parts:
Part 1: Background--the BSU and Black
Part 3: The Panthers and the Politicians
to enlarge images]
The gun and the breakfast program
The Black Panther Party developed two
radically different programs and symbols. In its early years, it
concentrated on armed self defense. In 1969 it turned towards community
service and developed breakfast programs and a medical
(Courtesy Aaron Dixon)
The Ten Point Program of
the Black Panther Party
The Seattle chapter used this form in
recruiting members when the chapter first started. Close to 300
initially joined, although most soon quit and others were dismissed.
Click to see the full form.
Leaders and Members
The 1970 Congressional investigation into
the activities of the Seattle chapter included the following list of
alleged members and leaders. Some of the information was inaccurate.
Click to see full list.
Here are the other exhibits, photographs,
and testimony from the 1970 Congressional
Video Oral Histories
military veteran, Leon Hobbs helped train the chapter in weapons and
tactics. He also
Sydney Miller Free Medical Clinic.
Learn more about him and watch video excerpts from his oral history.
early member of the chapter, Mike Murray was a student at Garfield High
School when he joined the BPP. Learn more about him and watch video excerpts
from his oral history.
From the moment the Seattle chapter was formed, it was
a magnet for media attention. Click above to read more than 100 articles from the
period including Seattle Magazine's
October, 1968 article about Aaron Dixon and the Panthers.
Below are examples. Click to enlarge and
read these articles
Seattle PI September 8, 1968
Seattle Times July 30, 1968
When 17-year Welton Butch Armstead was shot and
killed by police on October 5, 1968, the BPP called it murder. The Seattle
police officer said the shooting was self defense.
Seattle Times October 13, 1968
Seattle Times October 17, 1968
The Breakfast program and other social
services developed by the BPP received more coverage in the weekly
newspapers belonging to the black community than in the mainstream
press. The articles below are from The Medium, February 4, 1970;
and the Afro American Journal, August 7, 1969
The Madrona Community Presbyterian Church
at 832 32nd St. allowed the Panthers to use their facilities for one of
the breakfast programs.