The Black Panther Party Ten-Point Program
The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, written October 15, 1966
Black Panther Party founders Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale had driften in and outof black nationalist groups, and Newton had read voraciously in philosophy and thirdworld politics. In late 1966, they acquired weapons and uniforms (leather jackets andblack berets), and Newton issues the party's Ten-Point Program. This platformembodied the complexity of the Black Power movement, demanding both practicalreform such as guaranteed jobs and housing and a United Nations-organizedreferendum "to be held throughout the black colony…for the purpose of determining thewill of the black people as to their national destiny."
1. We Want Freedom. We Want Power to Determine the Destiny of OurBlack Community. We believe that Black people will not be free until we areable to determine our destiny.
2. We Want Full Employment for Our People. We believe that the federalgovernment is responsible and obligated to give every man employment or aguaranteed income. We believe that if the White American businessmen willnot give full employment, then the means of production should be taken fromthe businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of thecommunity can organize and employ all of its people and give a highstandard of living.
3. We Want An End to the Robbery By the Capitalists of Our BlackCommunity. We believe that this racist government has robbed us, and nowwe are demanding the overdue debt of forty acres and two mules. Forty acresand two mules were promised 100 years ago as restitution for slave labor andmass murder of Black people. We will accept the payment in currency whichwill be distributed to our many communities. The Germans are now aiding theJews in Israel for the genocide of the Jewish people. The Germans murderedsix million Jews. The American racist has taken part in the slaughter of overfifty million Black people; therefore, we feel that this is a modest demand thatwe make.
4. We Want Decent Housing Fit For The Shelter of Human Beings. Webelieve that if the White Landlords will not give decent housing to our Blackcommunity, then the housing and the land should be made into cooperatives
so that our community, with government aid, can build and make decenthousing for its people.
5. We Want Education for Our People That Exposes The True Nature OfThis Decadent American Society. We Want Education That Teaches UsOur True History And Our Role in the Present-Day Society. We believe inan educational system that will give to our people a knowledge of self. If aman does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and theworld then he has little chance to relate to anything else.
6. We Want All Black Men To Be Exempt From Military Service. We believethat Black people should not be forced to fight in the military service to defenda racist government that does not protect us. We will not fight and kill otherpeople of color in the world who, like Black people, are being victimized bythe White racist government of America. We will protect ourselves from theforce and violence of the racist police and the racist military by whatevermeans necessary.
7. We Want An Immediate End to Police Brutality and the Murder of BlackPeople. We believe we can end police brutality in our Black community byorganizing Black self-defense groups that are dedicated to defending ourBlack community from racist police oppression and brutality. The SecondAmendment to the Constitution of the United States gives a right to beararms. We therefore believe that all Black people should arm themselves forself-defense.
8. We Want Freedom For All Black Men Held in Federal, State, County andCity Prisons and Jails. We believe that all Black People should be releasedfrom the many jails and prisons because they have not received a fair andimpartial trial.
9. We Want All Black People When Brought to Trial To Be Tried In Court ByA Jury Of Their Peer Group Or People From Their Black Communities,As Defined By the Constitution of the United States. We believe that thecourts should follow the United States Constitution so that Black people willreceive fair trials. The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gives aman a right to be tried by his peer group. A peer is a person from a similareconomic, social, religious, geographical, environmental, historical, and racialbackground. To do this the court will be forced to select a jury from the Blackcommunity from which the Black defendant came. We have been, and we arebeing, tried by all-White juries that have no understanding of the “averagereasoning man” of the Black community.
10.We Want Land, Bread, Housing, Education, Clothing, Justice AndPeace. When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for onepeople to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with
another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate andequal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them, adecent respect of the opinions of mankind requires that they should declarethe causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they areendowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments areinstituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that,whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right ofthe people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundationon such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem mostlikely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate thatgovernments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes;and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer,while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which theyare accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariablythe same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is theirright, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for theirfuture security.