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). 

Key People

Brown, Elaine Douglas, Emory  bppleaders12
Cleaver, Eldridge Hilliard, David
Cleaver, Kathleen Newton, Huey P.
Davis, Angela Seale, Bobby

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.



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:Black Panther Womans Place
Baltimore Afro-American - Historical Newspaper (1893-1988)

Ethnic NewsWatch

General Proquest

Historical Newspapers

For encyclopedia articles:
African American History and Culture
Virtual Reference Library

For articles from academic journals:
JSTOR (only accessible within the library)

General Resources

Black Panther Party Collection-San Francisco Bay Television Archive

"Local newsfilm and privately produced footage relating to the Black Panther Party's Oakland Chapter, from the 1960s & 70s."

Black Panther: newspaper of the Black Panther Party, The

Twenty issues of the paper made available in .pdf format by

FBI Records: The Vault

Release of investigative files that tracked the "militant activities, income, and expenses" of the Charlotte chapter. Also, files on Fred Hampton, Huey P Newton, Stokely Carmichael, and ones associated with COINTELPRO, particularly Black Extremist.

It's About Time: Black Panther Party Legacy & Alumni

Members share their perspective through narratives and historical documents (photos, articles, propaganda, etc.). Covers various facets from domestic survival programs, initiatives in Africa, student involvement and other allies, political prisoners, etc.

MSU Libraries: Digital Collections: Black Panthers

Various documents about and/or created by the Black Panther Party.

Seattle Black Panther Party History and Memory Project

Essays, video oral histories, digitized news articles, photographs, documents created by the members, and a section on the 1970 congressional investigation.

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