Establishment of a National Park/Monument Unit to Recognize the History and Contributions of the Black Panther Party
WHEREAS, originally called the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, the party was founded in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in response to the wide-spread poverty, lack of economic and educational opportunities, and police oppression experienced by the African American community in Oakland, California; and
WHEREAS, numerous dedicated and courageous young people of African ancestry enlisted in the ranks of the Black Panther Party to monitor and deter police violence, and to staff community service programs called "survival programs" aimed at providing food, health care, legal assistance, transportation and other services to Black and other poor people living in poverty; and
WHEREAS, promoting the idea of "All Power to the People", the Panthers took action themselves to force change and bring about liberation from all forms of human exploitation and oppression; and
WHEREAS, the Panther influence grew nationwide, J. Edgar Hoover, then Director of the FBI, proclaimed that the Black Panther Party was "the greatest threat to the internal security' of the United States in 1968; and
WHEREAS, the FBI commenced and illegal campaign of terror against the Black Panther Party that came to be known as "COINTELPRO' (Counterintelligence Program) to monitor, obstruct, undermine and neutralize the Party and its members; and
WHEREAS, despite this opposition by the authorities, throughout the 1960's and 1970's the Panthers became a national force for social change, empowering a new generation of African Americans to seize political power, partnering with other disenfranchised communities around the country, and demonstrating that the legacy of slavery and racial oppression still prevented so many from experiencing the promise of prosperity and equality that is the foundation of the American dream; and
WHEREAS, the United States of America has yet to provide national recognition or a publicly accessible space for citizens and visitors to gain educational awareness about the history of the Panthers, one of the most influential groups of freedom fighters in recent history; and
WHEREAS, national recognition would also acknowledge the thousands of people who laid their lives on the line to feed families in their communities, education their children, provide free medical services, train a generation of organizers, academics and politicians, and fight for a freer world; and
WHEREAS, the public has demonstrated an interest in unbiased information and interpretation of the history of the Panthers which was illustrated by the overwhelming success of the "All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50" exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California in 2016/2017; and
WHEREAS, the Party was founded in Oakland, California and had a significant presence with offices, activities and important sites throughout the San Francisco Bay area; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People calls upon the President, the Congress and National Park Service to initiate a Reconnaissance Survey to analyze the appropriateness of the establishment, funding and implementation of a National Park and National Monument in Oakland, CA and throughout the Bay Area.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP urged President Joseph R. Biden to utilize the results of the Reconnaissance Survey to establish a Black Panther Party National Monument and Park through the Antiquities Act (16. U.S.C. 431-433) in the appropriate locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.