Congress. Staff Study by the Committee on Internal Security – House of Representatives.
The Black Panther Party Its Origin and Development as Reflected In Its Official Weekly
Newspaper The Black Panther Black Community News Service. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1970.
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THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY ITS ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT AS REFLECTED IN ITS OFFICIAL WEEKLY
NEWSPAPER THE BLACK PANTHER BLACK COMMUNITY NEWS SERVICE
STAFF STUDY BY THE COMMITTEE ON INTERNAL SECURITY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
(OCTOBER 6, 1970)
On October 8, 1969, the Committee on Internal Security adopted a resolution authorizing an
investigation of the Black Panther Party to determine its origin, history, organization,
character, objectives, and activities with particular reference to certain aspects set
forth specifically in the resolution in relationship to the committee mandate. After
extensive staff study and investigation, the full committee, chaired by Hon. Richard H.
Ichord, commenced hearings on March 4, 1970. On April 15 Chairman Ichord duly appointed
a subcommittee, consisting of Hon. Richardson Preyer as subcommittee chairman, Hon. John
M. Ashbrook, and himself, to conduct inquiries and hear further testimony in connection
with the investigation of the Black Panther Party. Numerous witnesses have been heard
during the inquiry, and many documents have been accepted for the record by Subcommittee
Chairman Preyer. The exhibit, which is reproduced hereafter in its entirety, is a
compilation of selected information which has appeared in the pages of The Black
Panther, official publication of the Black Panther Party, headquartered in Oakland, Calif.
This does not present the complete history of activities of the Black Panther Party. It
is a single, but important, source for such information. The compilation covers issues of
The Black Panther published between June 1967 and September 1970.
The items selected for inclusion are limited to those which are pertinent to the subjects of
inquiry set out in the House Committee on Internal Security resolution dated October 8, 1969,
concerning the Black Panther Party.
Selected cartoons which have appeared in The Black Panther were placed in the record
at the committee hearings held on July 21-24, 1970, and are reproduced in appendix II.
"LONG LIVE HO CHI MINH"
The text of Ho Chi Minh's New Year's message is featured on page one of The Black Panther
of March 3, 1969. The message denounced the United States but praised "the progressive people
in the United States for their wholehearted support and assistance to the Vietnamese people's
struggle against U.S. aggression, for national salvation."
"Long Live Ho Chi Minh" is the caption of a birthday tribute to Ho Chi Minh, North
Vietnamese Communist leader. The article contained the following statement: "The Black Panther
Party and the revolutionary peoples of racist America wish Ho Chi Minh a very happy birthday and
many returns of the day. Having faced the same enemy for four hundred years, we the Black Panther
Party want him to know that we stand in complete solidarity with the revolutionary people of Vietnam.
We will fight imperialism with proletarian internationalism." (The Black Panther,
May 19, 1969 : 11)
Bobby Seale made an appeal to black soldiers in the armed forces to come home "as Revolutionaries
to Overthrow the Ruling Class." (The Black Panther, Sept. 20, 1969 : 2)
Eldridge Cleaver stated in a full-page editorial entitled "The Black Man's Stake in Vietnam":
"After the Civil War, America went through a period similar to the one we are now in. The Negro
problem received a full hearing. Everybody knew that the black man had been denied justice. No one
doubted that it was time for changes and that the black man should be a first class citizen. But
Reconstruction ended. Blacks who had been elevated to high positions were kicked out into the streets
and herded along with the masses of blacks into the ghettos and black belts...
"The black man's interest lies in seeing a free and independent Vietnam, a strong Vietnam which is
not the puppet of international white supremacy. If the nations of Asia, Latin America and Africa are
strong and free, the black man in America will be safe and secure and free to live in dignity and
Cleaver advised blacks to unite, give all help they can to African, Asian and Latin revolutionaries
and describe black Americans as "a black Trojan Horse." (The Black Panther,
Sept. 20, 1969 : 14)
"To My Black Brothers in Vietnam" is a message written on January 4, 1970, by Eldridge
Cleaver. He introduced himself to his "Black Brothers," and stated that he is speaking
for the Black Panther Party, but wants to include a personal note as well, because, he stated,
"I know that you niggers have your minds all messed up about Black organizations, or you
wouldn't be the flunkies for the white organization—the U.S.A.—for whom you have picked
up the gun. The Black Panther Party has picked up the gun too, but not to fight against the heroic
Vietnamese people, but rather to wage a war of liberation against the very same pigs whom you are
helping to run their vicious game on the entire world, including your own people..."
The message to black American servicemen called upon them to "take a stand either for or against
the freedom of our people. You are either with your people or against them. You are either part of
the solution or part of the problem."
"We appeal to you Brothers to come to the aid of your people. Either quit the army, now, or
start destroying it from the inside. Anything else is a compromise and a form of treason against
your own people. Stop killing the Vietnamese people. You need to start killing the racist pigs
who are over there with you giving you orders. Kill General Abrahms [sic] and his staff, all
his officers. Sabotage supplies and equipment, or turn them over to the Vietnamese people... If
it is necessary to destroy the United States of America, then let us destroy it with a smile on
our faces... The Black Panther Party calls for freedom and liberation in our life time..."
(The Black Panther, Mar. 21, 1970 : 4, 20)
SOUTH VIETNAM PEOPLE'S COMMITTEE FOR SOLIDARITY WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
Under the international news section of The Black Panther, April 11, 1970 : 15, the text
of a letter "To Black Americans from Mr. Rochom Briu, General Secretary of the Movement for
the Autonomy of Nationalities in the High Plateaus—South Central Vietnam—and Vice
Chairman of the South Vietnam People's Committee for Solidarity with the American People."
It states in part: "We are very glad to know that large numbers of Black America took an active
part in the recent Fall Offensive to end the war in Vietnam. We sincerely thank the Black Panther
Party and other anti-war organizations in the US, that have called for a Campaign of Solidarity
with Vietnam and intensified struggle to bring home now all US troops from Vietnam... We strongly
protest repression of Black Movement as shown in the arrest of Huey Newton, Bobby Seale... or the
murder of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark... We energetically condemn the US authorities' attempt to
bring Bobby Seale to trial next month..."
In bold type the Panthers state: "End the war now, bring the troops home, or we will
open up a new front right here in Babylon."
Panther coverage of the Vietnam war consistently has presented a pro-Viet Cong, North Vietnam bias.
The following examples are typical of the material concerning Vietnam which has appeared in
The Black Panther:
"HOTLINE...," by Chan Hang presents the Viet Cong view of the war in Vietnam and events
leading to the formation of the NLF in 1959. (The Black Panther, Mar. 16, 1968 : 5)
An article entitled "Hanoi Hannah," datelined Hanoi, is a short complimentary biography of
the Vietnamese woman who broadcasts from North Vietnam to American troops, trying to convince them
to leave Vietnam. (The Black Panther, Feb. 17, 1969 : 11)
"Power To The People of Viet Nam," by Larry Jones, presents the view that the war in Vietnam
is "a struggle for liberation; revolutionary war opposite the largest and most repressive monopoly
system in the world—the United States." Jones declared that the "U.S. cannot contain
the Vietnamese revolution," which, he said, "shall be exported throughout non-communist Asia
without a single Viet Cong going beyond the boundaries of his own soils." The war in Vietnam
"and all contemporary socialist revolutions are marked with internationalism," according
to the article. (The Black Panther, July 26, 1969 : 16)
"Haitian Students Support NLF" is an article translated for the Black Panther Party by
"Rachael Wright, the daughter of the author Richard Wright." It is an expression of support
for the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam issued on "behalf of the Patriotic Haitian
Students of France student group which is part of F.E.H.E. (Federation of Haitian Students in Europe)."
(The Black Panther, Aug. 9, 1969 : 18)
"NLF Vietnam" is the title of a lengthy unattributed article which traced the development of
the "National Front for Liberation of South Viet Nam." It denounced the United States as
"Yankee imperialists" who "are waging a war of aggression, the largest in the world today
and the cruelest in history." A pro-NLF bias can be seen in such statements as "The front
undertook the historic mission of carrying forward the revolution, in order to free South Viet Nam
from the yoke of the Yankee imperialists and their lackeys." (The Black Panther,
Aug. 16, 1969 : 8, 9)
The late Ho Chi Minh's statement of July 20, 1969, deriding President Nixon's announcement of pulling
out 25,000 troops from Vietnam is carried under the heading, "Appeal of President Ho Chi Minh."
An editor's note says: "The following document has been widely distributed in Vietnam. As the most
important recent statement issued by the North Vietnamese leadership, it is being carefully read and
discussed by local study groups." (The Black Panther, Aug. 23, 1969 : 19)
A long article headlined "U.S. Pilots Captured in Vietnam—THEIR MESSAGES TO WASHINGTON,"
purportedly consists of interviews with American POWs in North Vietnam. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Allen Stratton
is named, otherwise the men are referred to only by initials: Capt. L. P., Commander B. N., Air Force
Lieutenant V. R., Navy Lt. Cmdr. C. X., Air Force Lt. Col. P. L., Navy Capt. R. C., Navy Lieutenant K.,
Captain B., Capt. H. P. The writer, Thanh Tin, has the men making anti-American statements and says
they drew anti-American cartoons. [The language the writer ascribes to the American men is stilted
English and it seems unlikely that it would have been written or spoken as it is by any American.]
(The Black Panther, Nov. 15, 1969 : 6, 7)
The centerfold of the Nov. 29, 1969 issue is devoted to two articles by North Korean Premier Kim Il
Sung. One of the articles advocates intervention by Communist nations in Vietnam: "All the
socialist countries should pool their strength and come to the aid of the fighting Vietnamese people
and should foil the aggression of U.S. imperialism against Viet Nam by joint efforts."
"Now is not the time for the socialist countries to stand by idly, only extending political support
to the people of Viet Nam. They should take more positive actions to aid the Vietnamese people. In
the light of the situation where the U.S. imperialists are extending aggression to the Democratic
Republic of Viet Nam by bringing in troops of their satellite countries and puppets, every socialist
country must dispatch volunteers to Viet Nam to defend the southeastern outpost of the socialist camp
and preserve peace in Asia and the world. This is the internationalist duty of the socialist countries
to the fraternal people of Viet Nam. No one is entitled to object the socialist countries sending
volunteers to Viet Nam." (The Black Panther, Nov. 29, 1969)