The Origins Of The Black Panther Party, & Some of The Things That Shaped Me As A Black Man In America.

Seeing some of the images in Skip Gates’s PBS documentary (Black, Native American, Asian, Latino, White or whatever. (you gotta watch this)) took me back to when I began to become truly aware of the issues surrounding race in America at that time (the late 60’s & early 70’s). The images also made it painfully clear that the exact same issues are still present today; We are still being marginalized, subjected to racial discrimination & economic oppression. We are still feared & ostracized by “majority/mainstream America.”

“Keeping it 100”, this is not new!!! The things that are happening today are not some new phenomenon (RECONSTRUCTION, JIM CROW, THE ORIGINAL BIRTH OF A NATION, THE SUMMER OF 1919, THE DESTRUCTION OF BLACK WALLSTREET, THE 16TH STREET CHURCH BOMBING IN BIRMINGHAM ALABAMA, THE BOMBING IN PHILADELPHIA, AND THE MANY, MANY DOCUMENTED/UNDOCUMENTED INSTANCES OF LYNCHINGS, MURDERS & OTHER ACTS INTENDED TO DISCOURAGE OR PROHIBIT THE PROGRESS OF BLACK PEOPLE). This is history repeating itself, this is the backlash that throughout history has reared its ugly & despicable head whenever “Niggers”, Colored people”, Negros”, Blacks”, or “African Americans” appeared to be making progress towards becoming an equal partner in the American society (The most recent president elect’s campaign mantra was seemingly word for word from the (see the similarities here Reagan campaign ) of the 80’s). Documented history shows that there has always been a backlash, there has always been a reaction to the action. The response to Black Lives Matter definitely reminds me of  the response to the Black Panther Party Movement; once again, the message has been obfuscated, no one said that all lives don’t matter, they simply said that Black lives matter. No one said that Police lives don’t matter, they asserted that police are killing Black people at an unreasonable rate as it compares to other nationalities.

I am not merely responding to what this documentary exposes, I assure you that I have personally experienced prejudice & racism multiple times in my life (not just in the past, but as recently as this past summer). Fortunately for me, it has not deterred me or weakened my resolve. I have come to realize that I can not base my existence/possibilities on what someone else (White or Black) may or may not think of me. Partially due to being in the Marine Corps I have been blessed with the opportunity to live in different countries & different parts of the U.S., and I can tell you that without fail I have been subjected to racism/prejudice in all of those places. I can tell you that my roots in the 60’s provided me with the where with all and the intestinal fortitude (“balls”) to never, give up.




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K-Town Alumni

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