The Black Panther, 1966-2016

Political Prisoner Movement

One of the Black Panther Party’s longest fought efforts involved the movement to free political prisoners. In fact, by 1968, the rate at which male Party members in particular were being incarcerated, killed, or sent into exile for their political ties to the Party led to a predominantly female membership.[1] In many cases, children living in communities with an active Party presence not only witnessed, but often participated in the campaign to free incarcerated Panthers. As part of the movement to challenge a growing and heavily racialized, prison industrial complex, children of various ages attended rallies, wrote letters to imprisoned men and women, and attended the trials of those convicted of political crimes. As part of the Party’s directive to educate the masses about capitalism’s destructive effects, many of these activities were incorporated into the Party’s youth education programs, including its liberation schools.   
[1] Matthews, “‘No One Ever Asks,’” 278.

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