By Karen Stokes
Dr. Alli Muhammad is well versed on the Revolutionary Black Panther Party(RBPP). He was raised as a Panther “cub” in the Black Panther Party organized in the 1960’s. Muhammad’s parents are medical doctors and strong revolutionaries. They raised their son on the principles of the Black Panther Party and he participated in the Party’s programs.
Dr. Muhammad, Chief General in Command, holds two medical degrees, as well two PhD degrees in psychology and a master’s degree in military science.
“One major thing that everyone talks about is radical this or radical that or terrorism, but what we are is strictly against terrorism on all fronts,” said Dr. Muhammad. “Whether it’s ISIS or Al-Qaeda makes no difference to us we’re anti-terrorist.”
There are 40 Chapters and 700 members of the Revolutionary Black Panther Party nationwide in key cities including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Tallahassee and Milwaukee. There are 30 members locally. Dr. Muhammad is headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi.
“Our mission is to feed, clothe, train and self-defend our people,” said Jamal Cannon, chief General Sergeant for the Milwaukee Chapter of The Revolutionary Black Panther Party.
“We have human rights tribunals from city to city, from state to state where the people from that area or community who are either victims or witnesses of genocide come out and express their case,” said Dr. Muhammad.
That has been the mission of the Black Panther Party since its inception in the 60’s.
According to Dr. Muhammad, the Black Panther Party started in 1965 with Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) in Lowndes County, Alabama working to secure, promote and protect the Black vote.
Carmichael went throughout the country and talked about the formula he had for Black Civil Rights. When he got to Berkeley, California he met Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. They worked with the civil rights formula Carmichael used, but it didn’t transfer well to the big city. The south had farms, and people owned their own businesses. The big city had unemployment, homelessness, and food insecurity.
Newton and Seale developed a model that reached every aspect of the Black community and reciprocated it throughout the country and that was how the Black Panther Party started.
There was a time when the Panthers had 1000’s of members and around 1982 membership went to 26 members. Although many believed the Party dissolved, the Black Panther Party never disbanded and in 1992 leaders and members, along with Dr. Muhammad united and added the “Revolutionary” to the name.
“The adjustments we made from the 60’s is the same program to feed, clothe, shelter, train and defend our people but our military mission is very strict,” Dr. Muhammad said. “This is the philosophy we stand on.”
“We are the same party from 1965-66, that’s our history,” said Dr. Muhammad, “What makes you who you are is your programs and your platform.”
The RBPP offers several programs in the community that are free to the public.
• Food Program, 7 days a week which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner
• Black Community Health Program on Monday offering hypertension screenings and soon will offer diabetes screenings
• Healthy Black Parenting classes
• Healthy Black Couples classes
• Fitness, Health and meal plan classes
• Youth self defense classes
OTHER PANTHER GROUPS
There are other groups using the name “Black Panther” but are not part of the legacy of the Black Panthers of the 60’s. One group called the “New Black Panthers” in 1989 was headed by Aaron Michaels who was a friend of Michael McGee, Sr. The original name of the group was “ The Warriors”, then the “Black Panther Militia”. He then called the group the “Black Panthers” but due to some issues had to change the name to the “New Black Panther Party”, according to Dr. Muhammad.
In a recent local news report, there is a group which calls themselves the “Original Black Panther Party” not affiliated with the Revolutionary Black Panther Party, led by King Rick who was a bodyguard for Michael McGee. This group is only in Milwaukee and works to help the community and are motivated in helping the male youth in the community.
Currently the RBPP is currently engaged in a $400 million lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department, for interrupting a field food program with several armed police, illegally confiscating guns and a 10-year-old female Black Panther (cub) was hit in the mouth. The RBPP has food programs throughout the country, 7 days a week. Last year they fed 5 million people.
The program, on December 28 was a positive, peaceful event giving all people in the community a chance to have a hot meal. As the event was near its conclusion, dozens of police disrupted the event, blocked the intersection of 27th and Fond du Lac and the situation escalated to chaos.
In a video recorded by a witness, the police ordered the RBPP to disburse after they stated a complaint was made.
“This was the first time since the 60’s that the law attacked a Black Panther Party food program,” said Dr. Muhammad. “This was a program which elders and children were present. We will not tolerate that.”
“This just shows that no good deed goes unpunished. We get a lot of resistance from people for being pro-black, and ‘so called’ anti-police, but literally this is the kind of stuff we deal with all the time,” said Vaun Mayes, National Minister of Information HQ. “We will not be intimidated, deterred or bullied out of serving our people and community to our fullest capabilities.”
When asked if the food program will continue, Mayes answer was, “Of course it will.”
“We want all law enforcement to know that we are not going to tolerate any intimidation or harassment,” said Dr. Muhammad. “If we are lawbreakers, any type of lawbreakers should be dealt with lawfully.
But if not doing anything unlawful, if we are standing within our rights we’re going to do everything legally to handle it.”
In a previous interview Dr. Muhammad said, “Growing up a Panther cub …there are things engrained in you, that you can never get out of you, and it matures you, it is difficult to erase this maturity and as a fully-grown panther, it lives on in the Revolution, in the Revolutionary Black Panther Party.”