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Top Notch Mutual Aid of the BPP

Mutual Aid for a More Just World pt. 5

First Published at Cultured

Image by Rainalee111 via Wikimedia

With a commitment to serve and uplift Black communities by any means necessary, the BPP (Black Panther Party) fulfilled needs in countless ways. Unfortunately, many white folks considered them extremists. But the Panthers got things done despite racist violence and social exclusion.

The Free Breakfast Program comes to most informed minds when discussing how the Black Panthers met the needs of black schoolchildren starting in 1969. They knew that learning is a Herculean effort on an empty stomach. Academic studies correlated eating breakfast with improved academic performance and motivated the founding of this program. So, they mobilized community resources to ensure full bellies at the start of each school day.

They persisted despite the FBI labeling them as “a communist organization and an enemy of the United States government.” Whites saw black empowerment as a threat to the status quo. So, secret plans to dismantle these radical political organizations ensued. Under the COINTELPRO program for example, US intelligence agencies surveilled, infiltrated, and harassed countless antiwar folks, socialist organizations, and civil rights leaders. Targets included activists and organizers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. These US Intelligence agencies interfere with the natural course of human events both here and abroad. They never received meaningful reform or oversight, so what still occurs remains obscured to the public who pays for these programs. One might also consider the earlier Underground Railroad before and during the Civil War to be mutual aid. These efforts show how to thrive in solidarity despite the white supremacy that persists in countless forms today.

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