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Sun, 06.09.1968

The British Black Panther Party is Founded

Protest in Brixton

*The founding of the British Black Panthers is celebrated on this date in 1968.

(BBP) or the British Black Panther movement (BPM) was a Black Power organization in the United Kingdom that fought for the rights of Black people and peoples of color in the country. The BBP was inspired by the American Black Panther Party, though they were unaffiliated with them.

Malcolm X was visiting the UK between 1964 and 1965 and Stokely Carmichael's address at the Dialectics of Liberation Congress at the Roundhouse in London in 1967, inspired many in Britain's Black Power movement. Carmichael's speech and visit influenced writer Obi Egbuna.   

Activists in Britain were also inspired by the Black Panther newspaper and watching reports on the US Black Panthers on the BBC.  The British Black Panther Movement (BPM) was founded in the summer of 1968, by Obi Egbuna, Darcus Howe, Linton Kwesi Johnson, and Olive Morris, who were influenced by the American Black Panther Party.  Other early members included Altheia Jones-LeConte, as well as south Asian activists such as Farrukh Dhondy and Mala Sen under the banner of "blackness", with "Black" as a political label for all people of color.  

The BBP worked to educate Black communities and fight against racial discrimination and about Black history.  The BBP used imagery and symbols already established by the Black Panther Party in the United States.  They were fighting police brutality in the UK and they "emphasized their own preparedness and willingness to confront police when necessary."  The BPM defended communities against fascist violence and supported the Caribbean and Palestinian liberation struggles. Several branches existed, but the main center of the organization was in Brixton, South London.  

The BBP also had a Youth League, published its own newspaper called Freedom News, and other publications such as Black Power Speaks (1968) and Black People's News Service (1970).  The movement reached its pinnacle with the 1970 Mangrove Nine Trial. The trial, involving members of the Panther Movement and other black activists, succeeded in fighting against police harassment of Frank Critchlow's Mangrove restaurant.   As the BBP began to fall apart in 1973, a number of women including Beverley Bryan, Olive Morris, and Liz Obi organized to form the Brixton Black Women's Group in Brixton. 


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