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Body and SoulThe Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination$
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Alondra Nelson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816676484

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816676484.001.0001

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Origins of Black Panther Party Health Activism

Origins of Black Panther Party Health Activism

(p.49) 2. Origins of Black Panther Party Health Activism
Body and Soul

Alondra Nelson

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter explores how and why the survival or “serve the people” programs came to play a central role in the Black Panther Party organization, focusing on factors that caused the evolution of the Black Panther’s health politics. The ideas of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Mao Zedong, and Frantz Fanon provided a conceptual bridge between the Panther’s political philosophy, its community service ethos, and its health politics. The theorists’ influence is reflected in how the Party afforded an integral role to medicine in its imagination of a “robust” social body. Between January 1968 and December 1969, the Black Panther became subject to repressive police power, resulting to at least 28 murdered members.

Keywords:   serve the people, Black Panther Party, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Mao Zedong, Frantz Fanon, health politics, political philosophy, community service ethos

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