While October 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party of Self-Defense, the history, the lessons and the impact remain with us. Created by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton in 1966, the party’s goal of protecting the Black community from state violence evolved from self-defense to numerous community programs whose models are still used today. And while the image of armed Black men monitoring the oppressor seems to be synonymous with the name, it was the organization’s women members who upheld and ensured the survival of the party.

By the 70’s, women made up the majority of the party and today, those same women continue to fight in the name of justice and Black liberation.

We salute the Black women who paved the way for us as we now fight in our own Black liberation movement. Here, we honor the collective and highlight some of the contributions made by women in the Black Panther Party.

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