What Were The Black Panthers? Facts And Truth About A Controversial Movement

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Huey Newton in a photograph that became a famous Black Panther poster. Source: museumca.org

The Black Panthers -- officially, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense -- strike a fearsome pose in the racial tumult of the late 1960s. The assassinations of Malcolm X in 1965 and Martin Luther King in 1968 brought out a younger generation of black leaders -- Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver and others -- who projected strength and power. Black Power. While the group's image attracted media attention, there was more to the Black Panthers than sensationalistic news reports and reductive histories would have you believe.