What You Don’t Know About The Black Panthers | AJ+

Guns, berets and leather jackets may be the images you associate most with the Black Panther Party. But what you may not know is how the political group shifted healthcare in the U.S. To be more community-based. Our government was not gonna provide healthcare. So, we were going to provide healthcare for the people. The Black Panthers opened free medical facilities, created the very first nationwide screening program for sickle cell anemia, a blood disorder. And they even helped establish a form of acupuncture. That’s still in use today. We spend a lot more time serving the people than we did protesting or defending ourselves from the police. So why isn’t the Black Panthers health care activism more widely known? Well it may be by design. History is written by the victors. The Black Panthers are not writing the history of the Black Panther Party Hey fam. I’m Imaeyen and this Sunday on AJ+, we’re exploring the Black Panther party’s history healthcare legacy and how a covert government program tried to bury it all. To understand what prompted the Black Panthers go right into health care, you first have to understand why it came into existence Here’s how co-founder Huey T. Newton explained the group. We are bound to transform society and Erect a system where our people will receive justice. The Panthers formed on the heels of the civil rights movement – a time when the push for racial equality and equity divided the U.S. 1965 was a pivotal year that helped spark the Panthers creation, according to former Black Panther at Billy Jennings. We had the murder of Malcolm X in February. Also you had the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And also you had the Watts Riot happening August of 1965, along with the Selma March in 1965. Then in the fall of 1966 a white police officer ran down and killed an unarmed teenager in a historically black neighborhood in San Francisco. It was a breaking point. The community rioted. The governor declared a state of emergency, and the next day, National Guard soldiers marched with bayonets through the streets. This was the fertile ground in America’s landscape that prompted Newton and Bobby Seale to found the Black Panthers Party for Self-Defense in October 1966. The Black Panthers initial mission was to police the police. Panthers followed patrol vehicles ready to defend their communities with force if they felt the need arose. This is a part of their legacy that the world remembers. But the physical self-defense was a fraction of the Panthers objectives. As their movement grew, so did their vision. Dr.Tober small was a physician to the Black Panthers, though he wasn’t a party member. They were not just people in black jackets carrying guns. They were interested in actually doing something for the community. The Black Panthers focused more on what they call survival programs – things like food assistance, free education, free legal aid. And one of their top priorities was free community healthcare. Most of our civilized countries will provide these services for the people. The Panthers realized that we didn’t have a civilized country. We were not providing these services for the people. As a young doctor small treated political activists like Angela Davis and George Jackson in prison. And when Bobby Seale issued a directive for all chapters to establish free health clinics in 1970, the Black Panther Party turned to Dr. Small to help build the program. I had all the pharmaceutical companies donating medicines to the George Jackson Free Clinic. I had doctors volunteering, nurses volunteering, med techs volunteering. Sheba Haven, who was a member of the Black Panther Party, says the Black Panthers approach to health care was radical. I think that they had a great impact on medicine in general because they were progressive not just in the idea that healthcare is a right but in the way that healthcare is delivered. The Black Panther Party interceded in places where the US government was seemingly absent, like its nationwide screening program for sickle cell disease. It was a first. The government was not prioritizing sickle cell anemia for the same reason that Jackie Robinson had to be the first black baseball player in 1948. For the same reason that the black troops were segregated during World War II. There was racism in this country. Sickle cell anemia was a disease that affected mostly black folks. Sickle cell is the single most common genetic disease in the United States. And the vast majority of patients are African American. It’s painful and deadly. And in 1970 the country only allocated less than $100,000 in funding. It spent $7.8 million on muscular dystrophy. $1.6 million on cystic fibrosis. $8 million dollars to get a man on the moon. and obviously sickle cell anemia was not a priority Then an intriguing thing happened in 1972. John Lennon invited Black Panther members and collaborators to appear on one of the most popular talk shows of the day: the Mike Douglas Show. And they seized the platform to address the problem of sickle cell disease. We’ve tested 30,000 people for sickle cell anemia and I think we’ve tested for more than anybody in the country. And just like that sickle cell became part of the national conversation. The Panthers used their medical infrastructure to run tests for sickle cell in cities all over the country. So it is objectively true that one of the defining public health initiatives of the early 1970s wasn’t launched by the U.S. government – But by an organized group of socialist advocates. The initiative gained so much momentum that President Richard Nixon signed legislation to aid research on finding a cure for the disease. By this point, the Black Panthers had become a major cultural force, operating on the international stage. Their philosophy shared common ground with Maoists in China. And as China began to normalize relations with the U.S., they country invited Huey P. Newton to visit months before receiving President Nixon. And that visit was a major reason acupuncture entered the American mainstream. Acupuncture existed in the Chinese community already, But the Chinese community in Americas was more insular and more like enclave, right? We introduced it to the rest of the world. The year after Newton visited China, he sent a delegation of 19 people to the country including Dr. Small. When they came back from 1972, we started talking my acupuncture more and we had people practicing as a puncture on both coasts. The Black Panthers also helped run the first health clinic to implement five-point ear acupuncture. That protocol is still used today to treat conditions like drug addiction and post-traumatic stress. So the group had a major influence on healthcare initiatives in the U.S. Why then does it seem like that narrative has been hidden? Why are the Panthers so often associated with this rather than this? It’s partly because of controversial FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and a little program you may have heard of before: COINTELPRO. Well, one of the things J. Edgar Hoover always talked about was young black people being unified, a messiah coming to unify and black people, which he was terrified of, because her was a racist. COINTELPRO or counterintelligence program was a propaganda and surveillance operation that the FBI used to target activists, political groups and minorities. COINTELPRO was basically designed to destroy members of the movement that they felt were a threat to the American government American way of life. COINTELPRO’s goal was to discredit leaders and divide movements. Or, as the FBI put it at the time, “to pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them.” The power structure did not want to show the survival programs of the Panthers. They wanted to paint them as people who were committing crimes and violence. Of the 290 operations carried out by COINTELPRO the Panthers were targets of 245. For those of you that enjoy math that’s more than 84% Hoover personally instructed 14 different FBI field offices “submit imaginative and hard-hitting counterintelligence measures aimed at crippling” the Panthers. They sent death threats, offensive cartoons and forged letters to different members in an attempt to disrupt and divide the group. Perhaps the most insidious part about COINTELPRO was how effective it in controlling the narrative around the party. What the FBI and the government wanted to push that the Black Panther Party wasa black and angry group and they were anti-white. So if you want to paint someone as a devil you’re not gonna paint them as providing healthcare, providing free food, taking care of elderly people to the hospital, providing a free ambulance service like we did in North Carolina. And in a way, it worked. Years of police raids, misinformation, incarceration and killings not only reduced membership, it left the organization financially crippled and ultimately unable to carry out its social programs. The Black Panther Party was officially disbanded in Today, many of the same structural inequities that the Black Panthers fought against continue, including access to healthcare. That’s resulted in some devastating statistics for African Americans. In 2017, the American Heart Association said that African Americans have the worst cardiovascular health and more deaths from heart disease than any other group. They also have higher rates of HIV, diabetes and chronic kidney disease A 2007 study shows that African-Americans are much less likely to trust physicians and the overall healthcare system. You’ll see the statistics for black folks is vastly inferior to the statistics for white folks, and the Panthers recognized that there’s racism in healthcare, which is why they got involved in trying to provide healthcare for the community. But the Black Panther party’s legacy lives on. Many Panthers and volunteers with the party have gone on to work long careers in public health and medicine. Even the New York health commissioner, Mary Bassett, spent her early career volunteering in the Black Panthers free clinic. The legacy of the Black Panther Party will not be forgotten because people those things are embedded within people’s families. Shortly before he was killed by police in 1969, Black Panther Fred Hampton said he this: “You can jail a revolutionary, but you can never jail the revolution.” And that revolution always included a demand for healthcare as a basic human right. Hey, fam, thanks so much for watching. Don’t forget to like, share, subscribe and follow and let us know in the comments if you knew anything about the Black Panthers healthcare legacy, if you feel like there are any solutions they brought back then which could work today, and tell us also what you want to see us do next. We’ll see you next Sunday.

91 thoughts on “What You Don’t Know About The Black Panthers | AJ+

  1. While I can’t deny the good that the Black Panther party has done to help the black community, you can’t forget that all of this was energized by a white man… John Lennon. How would they behave today toward white people who want to enter their group? They would be treated like trash. They would behave like BLM… banning whites from conferences and meetings.

  2. wow, thank you so much for this video… Please make more! I would love to know about The Black Panthers… I have only seen a few documentaries and listened to podcasts, and they have never touched on the subject of The Black Panthers providing free health care. One can say, who owns history, owns everything. I can't believe I have never heard of this before.

  3. Cia tryed to infitrait them and discredit them . They were needed. They cared abought the community. Med treatment was not equil the black panthers whanted the youth to have a future not just waist there lifes in hands and drugs

  4. Sickle cell is a mutation.of the red blood cell as a defence vrs malaria if you have the traite you wont suffer as much . But full blown sickle cell leads to hivh blood pressure and that what comes from high blood pressure .whites of Mediterranean desent have it as well. . I carry sickle cell trait from my Italian / Greek heritage.

  5. Just goes to show how private charities and a community that works together can succeed even without government intervention. Go black panthers! Boo single payer healthcare!

  6. Just spread the truth is all I whant.
    Lies perpetuate negative bull c. Lies are the tools of the racist. The goal of such people is to keap us / all races ununited . This way we the people can be enslaved by our emotions and the government. . The government fears a united population. Why because they will then be made by the will of the people accountablefor there actions . The wealth of this nation is squandered . Under president bush 90 million dollars worth of food was thrown away. We have close to 10 million starving in america . Dont they deserve to eat . How dare the government throw away food . Plenty volunteers in america will haul it to were it can be handed out. . It's bad enough a cop just has to say he was afaid for his life . So he can then murder unarmed folks

    Yes I am angry old song from the 70 s called revolution check it out . Been told my heart is full of goodness . By many . My mind dogs for truth and justice . I wish I could do more . I believe in o bahma only to see him lie to us all . What a snake in the grass he was . God I pray trump will fix the wrongs done to our working poor.

  7. Dont stop what you all are doing. I type baldly and.make lots spelling mistakes please forgive me. For god is beside me and I will fear no evil cyber trolls that exist in there mommy basement afraid to face the world alone.

  8. Seeing how J. Edgar Hoover was willing to actively undermine and criminalise black people who were actually helping the American people, I would not call him "controversial" so much as simply evil.

  9. Alll of the Americans who are angry from Snowdens revelations of their government spying on people need to learn more about COINTELPRO, the deliberate targeting and assassinations of black leaders, orchestrated and directed by the FBI Director himself, J. Edgar Hoover.

  10. When did they start making AJ+ display that "Al Jazeera is owned by the Quatar government" disclaimer at the bottom of the videos???

  11. Excellent piece, but I wonder who is really for because people that are actually familiar with the history of the Black Panthers already know this and other people that are ignorant to it probably won't just not watch this piece to find out how instrumental the Panthers' community work was to their success

  12. Another example of how the Islamic Supremacists of Qatar are trying to start a race war in the US with their race baiting divisive videos. We Americans are all brothers, Islam is the enemy of all things not it.

  13. What a great video! I knew the Black Panthers had an emormously positive impact on our country, but I did not know this many details! Thank you so much for making this video!

  14. Massive thanks for the vidoe. My research is about the Black Power and the Black Panther Party, and this seems to me astonishing as it is hidden. All the works that I've seen so far condemn the Panthers ! By the way, can anyone here provide a documented work or book or any written or published work about the Black Panther Party and their contributions to the medical clinics. It will be much appreciated.

  15. Thanks for the video I learned something new. Like about acupuncture I had no idea. I have them to thank I guess. I use it for my chronic spinal issues and it helps me a great deal.

  16. "How the Black Panthers Revolutionized U.S. Healthcare" & Failed Tupac Shakur



  17. The overt government group did destroy them! Why would anyone sane continue to struggle and be around people who don’t want to see you prosper in any way? Spiritual warfare is mind boggling!

  18. Many people and governments throughout the world needs to heavily thank the Black Panther Party for put their wonderful ideas for free lunch, free health care. And I thank AL Jazeera for producing the truth and justice for the Party and for our people. REMEMBER THE PANTHERS, BLACK POWER! ✊✊✊✊

  19. I knew about the black panthers health care initiatives but i didnt know about their connection with China, that's amazing…

  20. Good video i didn't know the health care history about the panthers. That should had been more in the media as well. Black panther will always be remember throughout the america.

  21. The average Citizen should be armed more now than ever.
    The legacy of the Black Panthers has thought us Socialism works in the Community.
    The Police are not Proletarian, they are State Agents.
    Proletarians must be armed.

  22. Create a secret country and name it Wakanda please. I'd be the first to immigrate there (secretly ofc, and ILLEEGALLY)

  23. Wow, I literally thought the Black Panthers were just a paramilitary group with strong political backing from all the backlash the african american community always receive. Damn. Good to know all this now! Make more vids!

  24. They also pimped girls, robbed, and extorted local businesses. They also provided free breakfast for poor kids. They were violent sometimes. Also compassionate. They had their good moments, yes, but don't mistake them for angels. They hurt innocent people the same as any other radical movement.

  25. Excellent video! As a child of the 60's, a lot of this I remember. I did know that the Black Panther's focus was more on the community and providing services. But the depth you provide was enlightening. I will have to do some reading. Any suggestions?


  27. Do you believe it…
    In sudan in 1995 we had teacher gave us many info abut black panther as a movement that supports black people and the other sides… So happy to get more inf abut this thanks

  28. now since we are on a Black Panther roll, let's donate to make it properly useful,, BUT TO MAKE IT WORK, SEGREGATION IS THE KEY

  29. Thanks for the video. I have to admit I don't know a lot of the Black Panthers, but I know enough to know they aren't ANYTHING like the KKK. Trying to argue this with some whites is futile. Now I have even more facts for my arsenal.

  30. I think it would be good to show America’s response to the AIDS epidemic and it’s handling of LGBT+ people and advocates

  31. Wow I already knew that the Black Panthers were a great activist group but they transformed America. I also knew that all interesting things about America are of the people they’re society likes the least…All arts black people…all foods immigrants…the constitution native Americans…but now it seem that all things came from these people.

  32. In the video they ask for info about the legacy — so I want to share The People's Organization of Community Acupuncture: https://www.pocacoop.com/our-mission-and-vision  

    This co-op exists in part because of the work of Mutulu Shakur who was the assistant director of the Lincoln Detox, a community organized drug detoxification clinic in an occupied building at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx, which was founded in 1970 by the Black Panther Party, the Republic of New Afrika, and the Young Lords. After its closing, Shakur went on to found the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America (BAAANA) as well as the Harlem Institute of Acupuncture. He sought to utilize affordable acupuncture for oppressed, underserved communities. Today, hundreds of POCA clinics work with people in underserved communities and provide acupuncture on sliding scales as low as $15 or $20 a visit (private clinics often charge $75+ for just one treatment, and you often need more than on treatment to feel the benefits)!

    Truly, the history of community acupuncture in the US is an incredible one. Learn more: https://www.pocacoop.com/prick-prod-provoke/post/a-long-history-of-cooperation

  33. Great video! I would like to know more about those involved in the Black Panther Party! And what advise they have to the community

  34. Can I show this at our black history event on Mon. 2/11? The theme is "The Business of Black Power: How the Movement Impacted Economic Development"

  35. 2:08 – This guy is doing a Hitler Salute. Hmmmmm…. Thanks Al Jazeera, now i know who the real bad guys are.

  36. Nonprofit status needed $1,000 to get nonprofit status letter of recognition from Salem Oregon IRS so people can get tax write-off for donating apartment complex wanted Low Income Housing section 8 for veterans and other survivors of domestic violence Portland Oregon. Over 4,000 men and women sleeping on the streets epidemic of homelessness. Please donate today please repost the last black panther

  37. Trying to provide legal free services for people who cannot afford them innocent black people going to prison because White attorney don't represent them now they can't get housing. NAACP does not help Portland Oregon innocent people. As part of housing program legal aid program is needed also Wallace Moreland church treasurer advised me to start legal aid innocent person program. Because the innocent need representation

  38. We are reading Body and Soul by Alondra Nelson as part of or educational curriculum. Thank you for providing the true underlying message of what the Black Panthers were all about!

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