"On February 1, 1960 group of black college students from North Carolina A&T University refused to leave a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina where they had been denied service. This sparked a wave of other sit-ins in college towns across the South. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC...was created on the campus of Shaw University in Raleigh two months later to coordinate these sit-ins, support their leaders, and publicize their activities." [from ibiblio SNCC web site]
Huey Newton, a black militant activist student, meets Bobby Seale while attending Merritt College (Oakland, California). Both join the Afro-American Association, a black cultural organization led by Donald Warden.
At 3:10 P.M., just after he has begun to address an Organisation of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) rally at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, Malcolm X is shot several times; a black male later identified as Talmadge Hayer (a.k.a. Thomas Hagan) is arrested. Malcolm is taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital where he is pronounced dead on arrival. (see Malcolm X Research site chronology)
Lowndes County Freedom Organization, an independent political party in rural Mississippi, adopts the symbol of the black panther for its organization. Among the organizers of the group was Stokely Carmichael, a former Howard University student civil rights activist, who had been involved in Mississippi voter registration activities as a member of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Huey Newton's mentor, Donald Warden, creates Economic Night in a storefront located next door to the future Black Panther Party office on Grove Street, Oakland.
Berkeley police interupt an impromptu street corner poety recitation, resulting in the arrest of Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton, and Gerald Horton (Rafeeq Naji); Charges are later dropped.
Stokely Carmichael elected Chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
500 people gather at San Francisco City Hall to protest arrest of sit-in demonstrators in 1964 at the Sheraton-Palace Hotel (in protest of unfair hiring practices)
Race-related rioting breaks out in forty-three US cities including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Atlanta, and detroit; over 3,500 are arrested, and 7 killed.
Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale and David Hilliard developed a skeletal outline for this organization. They finalize a draft of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense 10 Point Program and Platform and founding of the Black Panther Party of Self Defense.
Eldridge Cleaver is released from Folsom Prision, paroled in San Francisco. Joins staff of Ramparts Magazine .
Sixteen year old Bobby Hutton becomes first male recruit of the Black Panther Party.
BPP opens first official headquarters in a storefront at 56th and Grove Streets in Oakland, Calif.; Kenny Freeman and Roy Ballard organize the Black Panther Party of Northern California in San Francisco.
Eldridge Cleaver joins the Panthers
Two years after the assassination of Malcolm X, armed BPP members are confronted by police outside the San Francisco offices of Ramparts magazine while escorting his widow, Betty Shabazz.
Black Panther United Front organizes demonstration and rally against the Vietnam war at the United Nations, New York.
Publication of first issue of Black Panther Party: Black Community News Service, the party's official news organ.
H. Rap Brown succeeds Stokely Carmichael as national chair of SNCC. Brown had first joined SNCC while attending Southern University (1960 to 1964). He became Alabama project director in 1966.
26 Panthers, lead by Bobby Seale, arrested in Sacramento, CA in conncection with Panther armed visit to State legislature hearing on gun-control legislation (the Mulford Act).
"So Huey says, 'We're going to the Capitol. Mulford's there, and they're trying to pass a law against our guns, and we're going to the Capitol steps. We're going to take the best Panthers we got and we're going to the Capitol steps with our guns and forces, loaded down to the gills. And we're going to read a message to the world, because the press is always up there. They'll listen to the message, and they'll probably blast it all across this country. I know, I know they'll blast it all the way across California. We've got to get a message over to the people.'”
Huey Newton responds to a citizen's complaint that the Oakland police department entered a neighborhood home without a warrant. Newton is arrested after ordering police to leave. Bobby Seale attempts to bail Newton out of jail and is arrested under 1887 law outlawing guns near jails.
The Peace and Freedom Party (PFP) was founded as a third party devoted to social and activism and opposition to the war in Vietnam. (see PFP web sitefor background on the Party)
California State Legislature passes anti-gun law, prohibiting carrying of firearms in any public place or street (the Mulford Act) Panther police patrols are effectively outlawed.
Mass arrests of anti-draft protestors at the Oakland induction center.
Oakland police officer John Frey is killed and officer Herbert Haines wounded in a predawn altercation after stopping Huey Newton and Gene McKinney. Newton is also critically wounded.
In Oakland, the Alameda County grand jury indicts Huey Newton on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and kidnapping.
Video clip of Huey Newton interview in the Alameda County jail (also includes clip of Eldridge Cleaver). [From the video Black Panther. Permission to digitize courtesy of California Newsreel]
Video clip of Free Huey rally, Alameda County jail [From the video Black Panther. Permission to digitize courtesy of California Newsreel]
The Southern California branch of the Black Panther Party is organized by Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter. "Carter was the former head of the 5,000-strong Slauson gang and its 'hardcore,' the Slauson Renegades, and was therefore known as "the Mayor of the Ghetto." While spending four years in Soledad prison for armed robbery, he became a Muslim and a follower of Malcolm X. In 1967, Carter met Black Panther Party Minister of Defense Huey Newton and became a Panther on the spot. Carter formed and headed the Southern California chapter, taking position of Deputy Minister of Defense, announced in early 1968.
[See Elaine Brown. A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story. Doubleday, New York, 1992. pp. 18-24.
UCB Bancroft E185.97.B866; A3 1992 UCB Main E185.97.B866 A3 1992; UCB Moffitt E185.97.B866 A3 1992]
David Hilliard arrested for passing out leaflets at Oakland (CA) Technical High School
San Francisco police enter and ransack the apartment of Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver without a warrant.
Rally for the Oakland 7. Includes speeches by Bobby Seale, Bettina Apthecker (Free Speech Movement), Robert Scheer (Managing Editor,Ramparts Magazine), Bob Avakian (Peace & Freedom Party), and John Kelly (Professor of Mathematics, UC Berkeley)
The Oakland 7 were anti-war protestors (members of the Campus [UC Berkeley] Stop the Draft Week Committee) arrested on October 17, 1967 at the Oakland, California induction center during "Stop the Draft Week" protest activities. The defendants were charged on January 28, 1969 by the Oakland Grand Jury with conspiracy to commit misdemeanors.
KPFA Radio, February 20, 1968 (Pacifica Radio Archives BB1783) 50 min.
Panel discussion of the alliance between the Black Panther Party and the Peace & Freedom Party. Participants include Bobby Seale (BPP Chairman), and Bob Avakian and Mike Parker, two organizers of the PFP.
Huey Newton Birthday Rally, Oakland. More than 5,000 supporters attend. Panther/SNCC coalition announced. Speakers include Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) leaders James Forman, H. Rap Brown, and Stokely Carmichael, as well as Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Bob Avakian (Peace and Freedom Party), and Berkeley (California) Councilman Ron Dellums.
Examination of the Berkeley City Council's resolution by Berkeley (California) Councilman Ron Dellums for the release of Huey Newton.
"At a benefit rally at the Oakland Auditorium on February 17, Dellums had announced that he would be introducing a resolution at the next meeting of the Council calling for the freeing of Huey Newton, and the dropping of the murder indictment against him as having been voted by a grand jury that was not composed of his peers, and for a reconstitution of the Alamedia County Grand Jury so as to properly reflect a cross section of the community." (from reporter Colin Edwards' introduction).
KPFA Radio, February 20, 1968 (Pacifica Radio Archives BB1633) 60 min.
Bobby Seale is arrested after a raid on his apartment. Seale and his wife are charged with with conspiracy to commit murder. Charges are later dropped for lack of evidence.
After leaving the Seale's home, Bunchy Carter and others are arrested and charged with carrying concealed weapons.
Publication of Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice, a collection of essays by the man who was named BPP minister of information.
Arthur (Glen) Carter, brother of Bunchy Carter, is shot and killed by "agents of the U.S. government." He is the first member of the BPP to be killed.
An FBI memo issued by J. Edgar Hoover mandating action against black militant groups: "Prevent the coalition of militant black nationalist groups. In unity there is strength...black nationalist groups must be the first step toward a real Mau Mau. Prevent the rise of a black Messiah who would unify and electrify the black nationalist movement."
At a conference sponsored by the Peace & Freedom Party (PFP) in Richmond, California, the organization announces its coalition with the BPP. The PFP slate includes BPP members, most notably Kathleen Cleaver, elected to run for the San Francisco 18th Assembly District, and Bobby Seale for Oakland's 17th Assembly District
Black Panther Party opens office in New York City.
Eldridge Cleaver's parole is revoked without a hearing
Martin Luther King is assassinated in Memphis, TN
Bobby Hutton, 17, the first member of BPP and its national treasurer, is killed by Oakland police following a shoot-out. Eldridge Cleaver is wounded and returned to prison for parole violation. Seven other Panthers are arrested. (For an interview with Cleaver regarding this event, see PBS/Frontline's "Two Nations of Black America" site)
Black Panther press conference: Attorney Charles Garry on behalf of Bobby Seale. Bobby Seale comments at Oakland (California) Hall of Justice regarding Eldridge Cleaver events of April 6 (see above). Interview with Rev. Earl Neil at St. Augustine Episcopal Church (Oakland)regarding police accusations regarding the Panthers and illegal weapons.
KPFK (Los Angeles) reporter Colin Edwards reports on Hutton funeral and on the rally that followed (Merritt Park, Oakland, CA). Speakers and commentators include Kathleen Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Marlon Brando (actor), Ron Dellums (Berkeley, CA Councilman, James Forman (SNCC)
Four Bay Area Panthers call press conference to repudiate confession made in connection with April 6th gun battle.
Kathleen Cleaver, Minister of Information of the Black Panther Party (and wife of Eldridge Cleaver), discusses the history, political philosophy and strategies of the Black Panther Party. Discusses the Black Panther Party Ten Point Program. At the time of this interview, Kathleen Cleaver was a candidate for the California State Assembly, and Eldridge Cleaver was the Peace and Freedom Party candidate for US President.
KPFA Radio; Pacifica Radio Archives BB3788.02 32:30 min.
Alliance between SNCC and pathers dissolved; Carmichael ousted by SNCC, joins panthers.
Interview with Huey Newton in Alameda County jail, June 7, 1968. Alex Hoffman, interviewer. Newton discusses his imprisonment and impending trial, and the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
KPFA Radio; Pacifica Radio Archives BB5463 23 min. (broadcast on 29 May 1970)
Bobby Seale convicted of carrying a loaded shotgun near jail and is sentenced to 3 years' probation.
Eldridge Cleaver released from prison.
Cleaver takes Black Panther case to United Nations
Newton trial opens in Oakland. More than 6,000 protesters come out in support on the steps of the Alameda County courthouse in Oakland.
Eldridge Cleaver nominated for President on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket.
L.A. shoot-out between police and panthers; two panthers killed
Three Panthers are killed by Los Angeles police at a service station.
Beginning of four days of anti-War/anti-Establishment rioting in Chicago at the Democratic National Convention.
Police stage raid/attack on Oakland, California Black Panthers headquarters.
Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, and Panther attorney Charles Garry discuss the raid. Newton also talks about his conviction on charges of voluntary manslaughter and his position on foreign and domestic political issues. Interviews by Colin Edwards.
Stokely Carmichael ousted from SNCC
Panther George Murray, who had been teaching courses at San Francisco State University, is terminated by SFSU's Chancellor. SFSU Black Student Union strikes in protest.
UC Berkeley offers a series of lectures for no credit by Eldridge Cleaver. Governor Ronald Reagan and Superintendant of Education Max Rafferty refuse to pay Cleaver's salary and order Board of Regents to overturn the university's decision. Ultraconservative California Senator John Schmitz (Orange County) sponsors a bill to withhold next year's university budget if Cleaver is not fired at once. On October 23, UCB students sit-in in the administration building (Moses Hall)
Huey Newton sentenced to 2-15 years on manslaughter conviction; David Hilliard, Chief of Staff, takes over interim command of the Party.
San Francisco police officer Michael O'Brien kills Panther Otis Baskett. O'Brien is noted for wearing a "Gas Huey" button.
Eldridge Cleaver gives speech on "Blacks in America", UC Berkeley, noon rally
Eldridge Cleaver gives first lecture on the UC Berkeley campus.
Huey Newton discusses his imprisonment in Vacaville (California) Medical Facility with Denny Smithson (KPFA Pblic Affiars Department), Karen Wald (San Francisco Guardian), and Joe Blum (editor, The Movement)
KPFA Radio; Pacifica Radio Archives BB5412 43 min.
BPP adopts a "Serve the People" programmatic focus, which includes initiation of a free breakfast program for schoolchildren on welfare.
Panther Raymond Johnson Jr. forces a National Airlines jet to Havana as it was flying from New Orleans to Miami. Johnson spends 18 years in Cuba. He returns in 1986 and pleads guilty of the highjacking.
Eldridge Cleaver speaks at a meeting at California Hall (San Francisco) sponsored by the Eldridge Cleaver Defense Committee. Originally scheduled at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco), the group's permit was cancelled by city officials. On November 26, 1968, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall refused to extend Cleaver's liberty pending his upcoming trial, and his parole was technically reinstated. He failed to surrender himself on that date. This is the last speech he made prior to his disappearance. Introduction by Jessica Mitford.
KPFA Radio; Pacifica Radio Archives BB2438 43 min. Broadcast on KPFA Radio, November 21, 1968 (Pacifica Radio Archives BB2428)
The first BPP Free Breakfast for School Children Program is initiated at St. Augustine's Church in Oakland.
Broadcast on KPFA Radio, August 14, 1970; Pacifica Radio Archives BB2540 25 min.
Students for Democratic Society (SDS) founder Tom Hayden replaces Eldridge Cleaver as lecturer in Participant Education Center course UC Berkeley (SEE September 11, 1968); Chancellor Roger W. Heyns asks faculty to inquire into possible abuse of university rules.
Bunchy Carter and John Huggins, leaders of the Southern California BPP are killed in shoot-out with Black nationalist group (US) at UCLA. Shoot-out is the result of a disagreement over appointment of an individual as director of the UCLA Afro-American Studies Center. Ericka Huggins and 12 others arrested and charged with assault with intent to commit murder.A Wall Street Journal article the following month details US leader Ron Karenga's involvement with the FBI.
Police arrest 17 Black Panther party members at John J. Huggins home in Oakland on charges which include conspiracy to commit assault with deadly weapons and violation of weapons laws; believe meeting was called to avenge murder of Huggins and Bunch Carter.
Over 100 Mills College (Oakland, CA) students, led by Black Students Union, seize president Robert J. Werk's office and hold him prisoner for several hours to press their demands for more involvement by minorities in college affairs; action follows speech on campus by Kathleen Cleaver.
Bobby Seale returns to the United States and is indicted and charged with planning riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
Seale interview from the San Francisco County Jail. Discusses his life before his involvement with the Panthers, his introduction to Huey Newton, his political development, and the future of the Black Panther Party.
Pacifica Radio Archives BB2259 approx. 49 min.
Stokely Carmichael and his wife, South African singer Mariam Makeba, move to Guinea; Carmichael denounces Panthers.
District Attorney F. S. Hogan announces 12-count indictment against 21 Black Panther party members on charges of plotting to kill policemen, and bomb police stations and department stores during Easter season shopping. Eleven defendants plead not guilty and are held in $100,000 bail each over objections of defense lawyers, including William M Kunstler, who calls high bail unconstitutional. [NYT April 3, 1969, Thursday]
Bobby Seale speaks at Free Huey May Day Rally, May 11, 1969. San Francisco, California (?)
Eight Black Panther party members arrested, New Haven, Conn. (including Bobby Seale and Erika Huggins) and charged with murder of NYC BPP member Alex Rackley, who was allegedly 'tried' in kangaroo court of informing on the Panthers, and tortured. Rackley's body was found in Coginchaug River. Six of the suspects were seized at the New Haven Panther headquarters; police uncover tape recordings of trial and several weapons in making arrests.
Bobby Seale convicted of carrying weapon near jail, sentenced to 3 years probation
J. Edgar Hoover declares "…the Black Panther Party, without question, represents the greatest threat to internal security of the country." He pledges that 1969 would be the last year of the Party's existence.
Panther William Brent hijacks plane to Cuba.
Stokely Carmichael resigns from the Panthers
Stokely Carmichael and Eldridge Cleaver meet in Algiers and quarrel over various political and cultural issues. Cleaver favors selective cooperation with white radical groups and Carmichael favors stronger concentration on building a strong black nationalist movement before working with whites. Carmichael urges armed struggle by blacks in fields of power alignment and culture; says armed struggle means "you have gun and that you use it to struggle for what you believe in." [NYT July 25, 1969, Friday]
Eldridge Cleaver arrives in Algeria as guest of Algerian government to attend Pan-African Cultural festival. Cleaver makes public a summary of his open letter assailing Stokely Carmichael's contention that Black Panther party should be concerned mainly with struggle of nonwhites against 'Western imperialism'. Cleaver contends that "suffering is colorblind" and oppressed people need unity based on "revolutionary principles rather than skin color."
After three years in prison, Huey Newton wins an appeal and is released.
Bobby Seale arrested in Berkeley and charged with initiating 1968 Democratic National Convention riots, and with the murder of Alex Rackely, a New York Panthers accused of disloyalty to the Party [SEE May, 22, 1969]
Eldridge Cleaver calls Stokely Carmichael's charges that Black Panthers are "dogmatic" and "dishonest and vicious" secondary to Carmichael's "paranoia about white control" of black organizations and ignorance of "revolutionary process." Cleaver drafts open letter to Carmichael to be published in Ramparts magazine. [NYT August 18, 1969, Monday]
San Francisco School Board removes Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice and LeRoi Jones play The Dutchman from reading list for special 'black authors' course for high school students; removal followed complaint by state Superintendant of Public Instruction Dr. M. Rafferty that books were obscene and pornographic and warning that teachers credentials would be endangered if books were assigned. Teachers groups and ACLU urged school district to resist. San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto accuses Rafferty of censorship.
New Haven grand jury indicts Bobby Seale on 1st-degree murder charge; he is charged with ordering the execution of Alix Rackley (See May 22, 1969)
BPP opens international section in Algeria under the aegis of Eldridge Cleaver.
US marshals move Bobby Seale from San Francisco to Chicago for Sept. 24 trial on charges of conspiracy to riot during '68 Democratic National Convention. Seale was in San Francisco jail being held for Connecticut authorities on murder warrant
David Hilliard goes to trial in Oakland in connection with charges stemming from April 6 shoot-out
Chicago 8 trial begins
For a more detailed chronology of the Chicago 7/8 trial and events leading up to it, See MRC's Vietnam War/Vietnam War Protest Chronology
Panther Walter Pope killed by Los Angeles metro squad as he drops BPP newspapers off at store.
Bobby Seale chained and gagged at Chicago 8 trial
The Chicago 8 becomes the Chicago 7, when a mistrial is declared in the case of Bobby Seale and a new, separate trial is ordered. After repeatedly asserting his right to an attorney of his own choosing or to defend himself, Seale had been bound and gagged in the courtroom. He is sentenced to four years for contempt of court; the sentence is later reversed. Seale is never convicted of any Convention Week charges.
Black Panther Rally, Bobby Hutton Park, Oakland California
Speakers include Masai Hewett, Angela Davis, Terence Hallinan, and the Panthers' attorney, Charles Garry. Discussion is largely devoted to the relationship of the Panthers to the peace movement, and the stand of the Panthers on the war in Viet Nam.
KPFA Radio, November 14, 1969 (Pacifica Radio Archives BB5473) approx. 56 min.
David Hilliard arrested and held on $30,000 bail in San Francisco on charges of threatening Pres Nixon's life. Charges stem from s he made on November 15 Moratorium Day at San Francisco peace rally in which he referred to Nixon as one responsible for attacks on Panthers and was quoted as saying "we will kill Nixon." (Hilliard is acquitted of these charges in May 1971 after the Government prosecution team refused to disclose the contents of wiretaps involving Hilliard to defense [NYT December 4, 1969, Thursday]
Illinois Sate BPP leaders Fred Hampton, 21 (Chairman of the Illinois BPP), and Mark Clark, 22, are killed in Chicago by police raiders from the State attorney's office.
Los Angeles police and members of Black Panther party fight four hour gun battle following pre-dawn raid on Panther headquarters in search of illegal weapons and 2 Panthers wanted on assault charges. State Senator Marvin Dymally charges raid is part of a national plan of political repression against Panthers.
Black Panther party officer Fred Richardson, one of twenty-two defendants charged with a plot to kill policemen, bomb dept stores, police stations and other places, jumps bail; NY Superior Court Justice Murtagh declares $25,000 bail forfeit, issues an arrest warrant and continues to hold two other defendants without bail despite protests by defense attorneys.
David Hilliard gets 6 month jail term, fined $500 for carrying loaded gun in a public place.