Serving the People Body and Soul
This introductory chapter provides a background to the radical political organization that emerged in Oakland, California called the Black Panther Party. It talks about the Black Panther’s survival programs, which were established to help poor African Americans cope with the surveillance and harassment caused by agents of a “law-and-order” state and provide a stopgap solution to the weakened provision of social services. The chapter also discusses how and why health issues became an indispensable element of the Black Panther’s politics, describing ideological foundations, historical continuities, and tactical demands that triggered the Black Panther’s commitment to medical and health concerns.
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