African American Department Collection and State Library Resources

How to Research the Black Panther Party

What was the Black Panther Party?

The Black Panther Party (BPP), originally called the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was founded in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, student activists of Merritt College in Oakland, CA. Its ideology was heavily inspired by Malcolm X, Frantz Fanon, and orthodox Marxism.

10 Point Platform and Program

The group's 10 Point Platform and Program titled “What We Want, What We Believe” is a good resource on the group's goals; it is available at the Black Panther Party Research Project. A sample of the community outreach, or survival programs, the group offered can be found at It's About Time: Black Panther Party and Legacy (see also: an ebook). 

Research Tips

There are many books about the Black Panther Party, some of which are collections of their writings, artwork, speeches, etc. Many members have also written memoirs of their experience in the group. For ones available through Enoch Pratt Free Library, search the catalog. Keep in mind, the Black Panther Party is also likely to be addressed in resources about the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power Movement,  and Black Nationalism. For a  timeline that may be helpful in identifying highlights of the organization, see one from UC Berkeley Library  which links to primary source audio files.

Databases

The library subscribes to several databases that may be helpful in your research. You will have to login with your library card in order to access them remotely.

For the Black Panther Party's newspaper, oral histories of its members, and other primary sources: 

Black Thought and Culture

For additional news articles:

For articles from academic journals:

JSTOR (only accessible within the library)

General Resources

Contact Us

Ask Us Now, an online reference service, is available to support you 24/7. However, to reach the African American Department directly, contact us by phone (410) 361-9288, email, or mail:

African American Department
Enoch Pratt Free Library
State Library Resource Center
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201