The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on November 17, 1968 · Page 21
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 21

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 17, 1968
Page 21
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Page 21 article text (OCR)

Palm Beach Post-Times. Sunday, Nov. 17, 1968-B9 Panthers' Story Told In Clashes With Police J -- i r7I - : j HP- . ... tight-lipped about finances. From somewhere enough money was raised to finance a considerable defense fund for Newton. The Panther leaders are known to travel by air and stay at the best hotels when they travel. They publish a weekly newspaper which sells for 25 cents and is virtually without advertising support. Some Panthers have gone to Communist Cuba, where they have broadcast messages ov er the Cuban radio. Seale also has broadcast over Radio Ha- . vana. via a telephone interview from New York. dialogue about police-community relations." he said. "The group does have a positive force in the community, and its mission is to help the Negro community achieve better mental health through establishing an identity. i.' Don Henry, an officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Los Angeles, said the Panthers "are doing much for the black people and are right in pushing for polariza tion. Full integration will never come until after polarization." The Panthers are equally chapters in Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Omaha, Newark, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. An organizing effort in Boston didn't get off the ground. "They consider themselves young warriors a positive identification which is directly opposed to the traditional image of the Negro male as passive and lazy," said Dr. J. Alfred Cannon, a Negro psychiatrist at UCLA and founder of the Central City Community Mental Health Center at Los Angeles. "The Black Panthers have contributed significantly to the rat bJ:5; ' L AP Wirrphoto PROMINENT PANTHERS Huey and Ls currently appealing this con-Newton, left, was photographed in viction. At right is Eldridge Cleav-the courthouse in July during his er, another of the Panther "big trial on a charge of murdering a three." He is seen at the Panther policeman. He was convicted of vol- headquarters in East Oakland, untary manslaughter in September - f .rv; .r By HAROLD V. STREETER and JERRY BITK Associated Press Writers The stcry of the Black Panthers is one that is told largely through the clashes of Its big three Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaverwith the police. In fad, the police are to a degree a reason for existence of this quasiguerrilla, California-based black nationalist political organization, oriented to the philosophy of the late-Che Guevara. Called "racist pigs," the police are pictured by the Panthers as the occupationforce of the Establishment "brutalizing" Negroes, keeping them "contained," protecting white interests and blocking Negro control of their communities. The Panther triumvirate is young, but experienced with the police. Cleaver, at 33 the oldest, has spent most of his adult life behind bars. Seale, 31, is on probation. Newton, 2ft, is serving a 2-to-15-year sentence imposed in September lor voluntary manslaughter in the death of Oakland policeman John F. Krey, Jr. Uppermost in the minds of Ihe Black Panthers is to accomplish Negro control of their own destiny. There is fear of the extremism of Black Panthers in some black communities, but some Negro psychiatrists and civil rights leaders see in the organization a positive force in establishing a sense of identity for Negros. Reliable sources place the lotal nationwide strength of the Panthers at no more than 500, with at least 300 of these in Oakland, Calif., where they were formed, and about 100 in New York. They see themselves in the sense of the American patriots of 177ti fighting oppression and tyranny and seeking home rule. But in this case, says Shermont Banks, deputy party chairman and head of the Los Angeles chapter, "The United States government is the mother country, not Kn-gland." He denies the organization is anti-white. In an interview printed in the Cuban newspaper El Mun-do, Newton said from his jail cell that the Panthers consider themselves "as an integral part of the army of resistance" urged by Guevara to combat American "imperialism." Newton said, "We are increasing our resistance and we are taking up our position, and we are placing ourselves beside all other nations to resist the No. 1 criminal of the world, U.S. imperialism." The goals of the Black Panthers, as outlined in their party platlorm and program, are: freedom for blacks to run their 51 - 5. , APttlicpholo group of flag-bearing Panthers are shown outside the Alameda County Courthouse, Oakland, Calif., in August, during the Huey Newton trial. SYMBOL FROM NATURE The Black Panther party picked its symbol, leaders say, because the panther does not initiate attacks, but will fight fiercely in defense. A f own communities; an end lo what they call the robbery of the black community by white merchants and landlords; housing that's fit to live in, the removal ot white police from black communities; an educational system that teaches blacks their true history and their role in present society; the release oi all blacks from all jails and prisons; exemption from military service and a United Nations-supervised plebescitc of black people in America to see how they want themselves governed. In testimony tape-recorded for hearings being held by President Johnson's commission on violence, Newton predicted that the Black Panther movement would spread until "we simply replace the two-party system." He testified that "we must control all the institutions in our community throughout the black ghetto" and said there would be "bloodshed" and "struggle" In achieving this goal. One of the first missions of the group, organized by Newton and Seale In October 16 in Oakland as the Black Panther Parly tor Sell Defense, was lo send out armed patrols to keep the police under surveillance. The Panthers, wearing a uniform of black berets and black leather jackets, said they wanted to see that Negroes were treated fairly. LAST 9 DAYS to save! Christmas Gift Portrait Of You and Your C hi Wren 9 oly H A V i r, ,y A k 1 grandparents and six wallet-$ize for family and friends. Plloro-RKH.KX STVDW, THIRD FLOOR DOWNTOWN WEST 1'Al.M HKACII i quent court testimony showed that as dawn the next day neared, he and Gene McKin-ney got into a car belonging to Newton's fiance, Laverne Williams, and set out in a search of West Oakland for "soul food." Frey, according to testimony, spotted the little car tooling along, checked the license plate and radioed, "It's a known Panther vehicle." He stopped the car and from there the rest is in dispute. Newton testified that Frey used abusive language, roughed him up and shot him without provocation. Officer Herbert Heanes, who arrived on the scene in time to assist Frey, testified Newton opened fire first. Rallying to a cry of "Free Huey," 60 Panthers in their black berets and black leather jackets assembled outside the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland at the outset of the trial in July. Miniskirted girls who accompanied the Panthers clapped their hands and chanted, "Time to get your gun! " In cadence, the men clenched fists and shouted, "And use it!" Inside, McKinney refused to testify and was sentenced to six months in jail. But a Negro bus driver, Henry Grier, said he saw Newton shoot Frey. A few days before Newton's conviction, the Black Panther weekly newspaper warned: "If those funky racists don't set our brave warrior free . . . the sky's the limit ... and even the sea's going to burn." The jury deliberated for four days and finally on Sunday, Sept. 8, rejected the prosecution's demands for conviction of first or second-degree murder and found Newton guilty of voluntary manslaughter. Jenevie E. Gibbons, a bologna slicer who served on the jury, said the jury felt Newton had fired in the heat of passion. She said they were influenced by his testimony that Frey had called him a "nigger" and roughed him up. Two days after Newton's conviction Iwo Oakland police officers fired carbines from a patrol car into the Panther headquarters. They were charged with firing into an inhabited dwelling and discharged from the police force. In a roster of ihe party hier-achy published in the Panther newsoaDer, the Plack Panther, Newton was listed as a "political prisoner." The list also expresses the feeling of "nationhood" prevalent in Panther thinking: Seale is chairman, Newton is minister of defense, Cleaver is minister of information. Stokeley Carmichaol carries Ihe rank of prime minister of colonized Afro-America and H. Rap Brow n is minister of justice. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was al filiated with the Panthers for a few months this year, but broke off Ihe association last summer. Carmichael and Brown, both former SNCC leaders, remained. The Panthers and police have clashed in other cities. Last August two policemen were wounded and three men identified as Panthers were killed in a shootout in the Watts district of Los Angeles. In New York, the Brooklyn district attorney said he believes the Panthers were Involved in the ambush of two policemen last August. Outside a Brooklyn courtroom recently some 200 men, including some thought to be off-duty policemen, assaulted about a dozen Panthers and their supporters. Inside the courtroom a hearing was being held for three Black Panthers accused of assaulting three policemen. In Indianapolis, charges of conspiracy to murder the police chief and a narcotics officer were filed in June against three men identified as Panthers. Banks says the image of the party has been distorted. He lays the blame on the white press. "We've been pictured as white-hating racists who want to kill anything and everything that isn't black," he said. "This just isn't so. We simply want to change a system that is carrying out a policy of genocide against nonwhltes and we're trying to change if in a noonviolent way if we can." In Pittsburgh, Joe Kibber, a 17-vear-old Panther who was expelled from school, said, "The Panthers are trying to regain confidence in the Negro race. We're trying to be friends with Ihe white man, but we'll fight if we have to." Banks said the party is run -by a 10-to 12-man central committee, of which he is a member, and that local captains carry out the policies made by the committee. The Panthers are ordered to read the works of Guevara, Mao Tse-tung, Carmichael, Malcolm X, W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvcy. the father of black separatism, and the late Dr. Frantz Fanon, a French West Indian psychiatrist who wrote and preached a global revolt of blacks against whites. The Panther leaders deny they are a secret organization, but they steadfastly refuse to get down to the nitty gritty of membership and financing. York, there are Black Panther BURDINE'S Panther rhetoric often has been inflammatory. Cleaver, who joined the party when he was released from prison two months after its formation, said, "From now on, we niggers have got to stop killing of nor niggers and start killing police." In his best-selling book on his nearly nine years in prison, "Soul on Ice," Cleaver wrote: "We shall have our manhood. We shall have it or the earth will be leveled by our attempts lo gain it." Over the vigorous protests of Gov. Ronald Reagan and others, Cleaver has begun a series of lectures at the Berkeley campus of the University of California on Ihe "dehuma-nization and regeneration of the American social order." In his first lecture he showed up in a black business suit instead of the Panther uniform, spoke courteously and without the usual obscenities that fill his talks. He said "black is a connotation of evil in this country" and it "stigmatizes the black man as having evil connotations." For sometime after their formation, the Panthers continued their police-watching palt ols and on May 2, 1967, members marched fully armed into the California slate capiiol at Sacramento to protest a bill to restrict the carrying of loaded guns within city limits. They were disarmed and ejected from Ihe eapi- i:i;u B U R D I N E 'S tol and their arms later were returned. Reagan termed the Panlher action "a ridiculous way to solve problems among people of good will," After passage of the bill, Newton ordered the Panthers to keep their guns at home. Nevertheless, about a year later the Panthers were involved in a shootout with Oakland police that left one Panther dead, two wounded including Cleaver and two policemen wounded. Cleaver, relieved of an Army rifle, was charged with violation of his 1(158 conviction for assault to commit rape and murder and was sent to the state medical facility at Vaca-ville. A judge later ordered Cleaver's release, saying the action against him had been "political." The case is still pending. Soon after his release, Cleaver was nominated for president by the predominantly white Peace and Freedom party at Ann Arbor, Mich. He was kept off the ballot in some states, including California, because he had not reached Ihe 35-year age limit required of a president by the Constitution. The cause celebre of the Panthers, however, centers on Newton and the killing of Frey. On Oct. 27, 17, Newton set out to celebrate the end of his three-year probation. Subse- 203. Xi f' i ray J. A i JkrV fcniwMtiiiMiittoii miiiim! miWuniW1 miinniriii mil Jri v i - if) 0 1JL V" v3 thmttdl ovmcAsrs sjams ? n - ill 1 IK,- U, SMISG HMHIW I EMM M I mimJI tunoNHOifs mis F"'l!i OICOMIIVI --, uf SMCHti At Burdine's West Palm Beach no dawn payment, juit J5 a month Makes sewing so easy, does the work of 7 special machines, no attachments, on !tvr does all. Limited quantity! Take advantage of this low, low price. Direct from N.Y. . . . Elizabeth Arden's Red Door Beauty Clinic with e hoi ns i on woimifi iiowkv CALl B33-4481 FOR HOME DEMONSTRATION. NO CHARGE, NO OBLIGATION. We service any make sewing machine. Wt sharpen scissors and pinking shears. 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