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UNIT 27-29 NOTES - Introduction to Journalism Black...

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1 Introduction to Journalism Dr. Fred Blevens Unit 27-29: Black Panthers, Bloggers Black Panthers: The Context J. Edgar Hoover wanted to eliminate them Saw them as most dangerous threat to (white) America Black men in leather jackets and military berets Panthers not usually associated with journalism Hoover’s image projection prevented that Mainstream media image projection prevented that But The Black Panther was influential Far-reaching vision for African Americans, 1967-1971 Origins of the Panthers 1966: Founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale Newton was 24; Seale, 29; both sons of working families Families moved west in WWII for naval shipyard work Both families ended up in poverty Men joined to get black history courses at Merritt College They wanted to improve life in Oakland’s ghettos Walked the streets and knocked on doors Their BP Party set up community services . . . Free health clinics Free breakfasts for school children Free workshops on political processes Armed patrol cars in black communities The Patrol Issue Police, mainstream media were outraged BP shadowed police to prevent brutality And that was legal BP made citizen arrests, which was legal BP carried loaded guns, which was legal Brutality cases declined dramatically But white power structure did not see that Legislature voted to ban carrying loaded guns BP protest, with guns, fails to stop it . . .. But, Effort got attention of oppressed blacks Why a Newspaper? April ‘67: Police kill unarmed black man Supposed fleeing felon shot; ruled justifiable homicide Witnesses report that officer had repeatedly threatened man Mainstream papers failed to notice Newton and Seale start their paper First issue is mimeographed and stapled; 3,000 circulation Soon, it’s 24 tabloid pages; 100,000 circulation nationwide Content focused on social/political revolution U.S. referred to as a fascist nation Covered previously ignored black neighborhoods No official staff -- a collective (like press of the counterculture) Provided identity for poor and oppressed Eldridge Cleaver was first editor; Newton was best writer Issues, Good and Bad Stopping police brutality, but . . .
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