For Teachers 

Black Panther Party Lesson Plan
Targeted Age: 11th grade
Targeted Length: Two 90-Minute class periods

created by Teresa Frizell

Objective: Students will use primary source documents and oral histories to explain why the Black Panther Party described black communities as “colonies” within the United States and how they attempted to empower those communities in response. The purpose of this lesson is to complicate students’ understanding of Seattle’s Black Panther Party (BPP) through exploring the duality of the organization.   This unit includes a powerpoint presentation of images and oral history excerpts. 

Teacher Material

Lesson Plan in downloadable Word format
                      Introductory information

"Black Panthers Tell Their Stories" a powerpoint slide show with video oral history segments

Background information:

Kurt Schaefer, "Black Panther Party in Seattle 1968-1970"

Jennifer Taylor,  “1965 Freedom Patrols & the Origins of Seattle's Police Accountability Movement.”

Student Material

Worksheets in downloadable Word format

1/ Colonization Worksheet one
2/ Colonization Worksheet two
3/ T-Chart
4/
Questions to Ponder
5/
Anticipation Guide One
6/
Anticipation Guide Two
7/
Goals-Reasons-Methods chart (optional)

Articles:

8/ BPP Document 4 “Ministry of Information Bulletin” (pdf) which includes “10 Point Program of the Black    Panther Party" on p.8. Or the "10 Point Program" can be downloaded separately.
9/
“Black Panther Party for Self Defense”  news clipping Afro-American Journal
10/
“Gun-Toting Panthers knew law"  news clipping Seattle PI
11/ “Tighter gun laws passed”    news clipping
Seattle PI
12/ Congressional Hearing Exhibit 16:
Arrest Records of Suspected Panthers

Here is a list of the oral histories that appear in the lesson plan. See the lesson plan for discussion questions and exercises.

Day 1 Oral Histories: The interview excerpts listed below are set up in an online powerpoint presentation. Click here for Windows Media Format; here for Quicktime format.

Oral History Set 1: Mike Tagawa and Gary Owens

·         Mike Tagawa1: Growing up in Seattle’s Central District: “All the races mixed without any problem at all, and I guess I kind of thought it was like every place.”

·         Garry Owens1: “The Public Health hospital that we now call Harborview was not a very nice place to end up.” Owens remembers how his experiences in the South while in the Army allowed him to see Seattle with new eyes. He became very encouraged by the Black Panther Party’s efforts at creating community programs that addressed the limited access that Seattle Blacks to health care.”

·          See teacher’s lesson plan for discussion questions

 

Oral History Set 2: Elmer Dixon

See teachers’ lesson plan for Anticipation Guide One. 

·         Elmer Dixon1: “We thought we’d be dead in 5 years,”

·         Elmer Dixon2: Police Alert Patrols. “There was a constant battle of intimidation going on between the police and the party.”

·        Elmer Dixon3: “Businesses that occupied our community should give back to our community or they needed to leave”: Panthers help push two Safeway stores out of the Central District.

·     See teachers’ lesson plan for discussion questions and Venn diagram instructions

 

Day 2 Oral Histories: The interview excerpts listed below are set up in an online powerpoint presentation. Click here for Windows Media Format; here for Quicktime format.                       

 

Oral History Set 3: Aaron Dixon

See teacher’s lesson plan for discussion questions to address BETWEEN each video segment.

·   Aaron Dixon1: "From BSU to SNCC to BPP,”

·   Aaron Dixon2:  “It looked like the Revolution had come” and 

·   Aaron Dixon3: “We were smaller and few.”

See teacher’s lesson plan for discussion questions to address BETWEEN each video segment.

  

Oral History Set 4: Ron Johnson

See teacher’s lesson plan for Anticipation Guide Two  and Questions to Ponder.  The Questions should be addressed BETWEEN each oral history set. 

·         Ron Johnson1: "The young people identified with our lifestyle because we didn’t do things all formal and starchy”: The summer youth employment programs.

·         Ron Johnson2: Survival Programs. “If we saw a problem that existed… even if sometimes our methods was primitive, our methods was course, we got the problem solved.”

·         Ron Johnson3: Exposing the contradictions in the welfare state: survival programs “embarrassed the government.”

 

Oral History Set 5: Bobby White, Mike Tagawa

See teacher’s lesson plan for instructions on the T-chart.

·         Bobby White1: I enjoyed paying the police back.” 

·         Mike Tagawa2: Confronting the Rainier Beach High School administration, September, 1968, and

§         Mike Tagawa3: “I would like to say that if we did things that were questionable in the eyes of the law… what we did was always a reaction to what the police did.”

 

Oral History Set 6: Elmer Dixon, Wes Uhlman

See teacher’s lesson plan for discussion question.                    

  • Elmer Dixon4: The raid that never came

  • Wes Uhlman1: Black Panthers: Uhlman explains why he intervened

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