[sixties-l] Old Panthers face new fight to keep their legacy intact (fwd)

From: sixties@lists.village.virginia.edu
Date: Sun Nov 24 2002 - 17:55:27 EST

  • Next message: sixties@lists.village.virginia.edu: "[sixties-l] Will hip-hop kill the civil rights star? (fwd)"

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2002 15:07:42 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Old Panthers face new fight to keep their legacy intact

    Old Panthers face new fight to keep their legacy intact


    By Steve Miller
    October 27, 2002

    Bobby Seale has battled the FBI and the police in his years
    as a revolutionary, but he now has an even tougher conflict: the
    fight to save his legacy in America as co-founder of the Black

    His nemesis is the Washington, D.C.-based New Black Panther
    Party, a 12-year-old group that Mr. Seale says threatens to align his
    revolutionary '60s party with a movement that is "anti-white,
    anti-Semitic and a lot of rhetoric that my original party was never
    The Black Panthers were known as virulent racial rebels in an
    era in which the nation's concept of racial differences was in a
    spotlight. They engaged in shootouts with the law; some
    members were imprisoned and some died.
    "But we never got into hate speech like they do," says Mr.
    Seale, who is now a vigorous 66-year-old author and lecturer.
    "Our slogan was: ^A'All the power to all the people.' We meant
    black power, red power, white power, green power, whatever,
    it was all for the people."
    The new group has hijacked "our legacy without any
    understanding of what we were about," said David Hilliard,
    another original Black Panther.
    "These guys are getting instant validation by using our
    name, and that is misleading to an entire generation," he said.
    A Texas judge in 1997 ruled that the new group, which was
    founded in Dallas in 1989, could not use the name.
    But the New Black Panthers, led by Howard graduate and
    D.C. lawyer Malik Shabbaz, continue to appear at rallies, in the
    streets and, recently, at several sniper-killing locations, where
    they pumped gas for frightened patrons.
    Now the Black Panthers, led by Mr. Seale and Mr. Hilliard,
    have retained Oakland lawyer Andrew Gold to enforce the
    Texas decision and, as they say, to clear the name.
    "We are not a hate group, we are not a racist group and we
    are not anti-Semitic," said Mr. Shabbaz. "For a member of the
    old Black Panther Party to call us extremists is outrageous,
    when they were, in their day, known as the most extreme
    protest group.
    "We see this as a manipulation of outside forces who are
    stopping the rise of the New Black Panther Party. It is a plot
    from the U.S. government and other pro-Israel forces."
    At the August Millions for Reparations March, on the
    National Mall, a "Kill Whitey" T-shirt could be bought from the
    New Black Panther Party display table for $10.
    Dozens of New Black Panthers, clad in paramilitary
    regalia, guarded the stage that day, cheering lustily for Nation
    of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan whose outspoken criticism
    of Israel and Jews has been widely noted.
    When Bill Clinton moved his office to Harlem last year, 25
    uniformed New Black Panthers showed up to protest while
    Mr. Shabazz called the former president a "cracker."
    In an Aug. 20 letter sent to Mr. Shabbaz, Mr. Gold, on
    behalf of his clients, demanded the offshoot group stop using
    the names and images of Mr. Seale and co-founder Huey
    Newton, as well as drop the name of the group.
    "The racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and other forms of
    inflammatory hate-mongering that the New Black Panther
    Party espouses is abhorrent to the surviving members of the
    Black Panther Party," the letter reads.
    "Your efforts to appropriate the images, names and writings
    of the Black Panther Party and to suggest some connection
    between the Black Panther Party and the New Black Panther
    Party are an insult to those who committed themselves to the
    ideals and principles of the Black Panther Party."
    The New Black Panther Party, founded by a Dallas radio
    personality and at one time operated by Khalid Abdul
    Muhammad, a former Nation of Islam spokesman, has been
    identified by several watchdog groups as an active hate group.
    The Southern Poverty Law Center in a report notes
    purported anti-white, anti-Semitic speeches, including a call for
    an "end to robbery by the white man," by leaders of the group.
    The Anti-Defamation League also lists the group as a
    practitioner of anti-Semitism.
    Accusations aside, the issue of the Black Panther name is
    legally moot, Mr. Shabbaz said.
    "Our general position is that no one owns the Panther," he
    said. "And we are making no money off the old Black
    Mr. Seale can still recite the Black Panther mission
    statement from memory, a plan that includes the call for "Land,
    bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace and people's
    community control of modern technology." And he despises
    these newcomers.
    "We didn't play the racist game," he said. "The problem
    with this group is that they are confusing the youth of America
    with this anti-gay, anti-white rhetoric."

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sun Nov 24 2002 - 18:17:51 EST