Crystal Hayes Outline

Conference Paper by Crystal Hayes, 2004: National Council of Black Studies, Georgia State University, March 22, 2003. "Recovering Family: Panther Ideology in the framework of Family Life".

I. Introduction (pages 2-5)

Goal of the paper:
It is my hope that this paper will demonstrate how the Black Panther Party crafted a politics of nation-building in the African American community that emphasized the decolonization of the black family once the organization shifted from a paramilitary operation to an organization that performed the many common functions of family life (procreation and regulation of sex, socialization, production, consumption, aggregation
and distribution of wealth, protection, authority and law, social and emotional support) from a black nationalists perspective committed to social justice and race pride.

What does it mean to be colonized, and why do I purport that Panther ideology worked to decolonize the black family?

Sample points:

  • Debilitating effects of slavery and centuries of racial and economic oppression
  • Special challenges of the urban black family (1960s/70s)
  • The role of the black family in building new cultures: During the course of its evolution, the Negro family has been forced to adjust itself to different forms of social organization and to the stresses and strains of modern civilization. Moreover the evolution of the Negro family life not only has provided additional evidence of the primary importance of the family in the transmission of culture but also has shown the role of the family in building new cultures (The Black Family, 17).
  • At the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro Family (The Black Family, 9).

II. History of BPP (pages 3-6)

  • Panther ideology at its inception including dialogues around gender
  • Transformation of Party around gender and its redefinition of the traditional nuclear black family
  • How does the transformation of Party ideology translate into the decolonization of the black family?

III. Decolonization of black family through Panther ideology (pages 6-9)

  • Political landscape as relevant to thesis: decolonization of Africa and Asia
  • International support of decolonization of Africa by Black Nationalists/Panthers (Malcolm, Carmicheal, Cleaver, Newton, Seale etc)
  • Cross-fertilization of decolonization of Africa/African Americans

Panther ideology and the function of family life (some of the functions have been collapsed if they overlap in operation e.g. procreation and regulation of sex):

1. Procreation and Regulation of Sex^×intra-communal heterosexual relationships

2. Socialization, communal living, liberation schools and political education classes for adults that also included reading and writing programs

3. Production

4. Consumption

5. Aggregation and distribution of wealth, mass clothing and food distributions

6. Protection, police patrol

7. Authority and Law, Panther law and disciplines

8. Social and Emotional Support, Consciousness raising activities e.g. rallies, festivals, dances etc

Literature (Sample)

Black Family Literature

  • The Negro Family in America E. F. Frazier
  • The Black Family in Modern Society John Scanzoni
  • The Black Family essays and studies Robert Staples
  • Coping with Poverty: The Social Contexts of Neighborhood, Work, and Family in the African American Community U Mich Press
  • The Black Ghetto Harold Rose

Panther Literature

  • The Black Panther Party Reconsidered ed. C. Jones
  • Off the Pigs!: The History and Literature of the Black Panther Party ed. Heath
  • Lonely Rage Bobby Seale
  • This Side of Glory David Hilliard
  • Taste of Power Elaine Brown
  • Assata: An Autobiography Assata Shakur