The free breakfast for schoolchildren program was set up in Berkeley, California, in 1968 by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. It was the first significant community program organized by the Panthers, and perhaps the most well known. By the end of 1969, free breakfast was served in 19 cities, under the sponsorship of the national headquarters and 23 local affiliates. More than 20,000 children received full free breakfast (bread, bacon, eggs, grits) before going to their elementary or junior high school.
The Intercommunal Youth Institute was established in January 1971 by the Black Panther Party. In 1974, the name was changed to Oakland Community School. The Black Panther Party goal was to get children to learn to their highest potential and to strengthen their minds so that one day they would be successful. The school graduated its first class in June 1974. In September 1977, California Gov. Edmund “Jerry” Brown Jr. and the California Legislature gave Oakland Community School a special award for “having set the standard for the highest level of elementary education in the state.”
Seniors Against a Fearful Environment (SAFE)
People’s Free Ambulance Service
The service provided free, rapid transportation for sick or injured people without time-consuming checks into the patients’ financial status or means. The People’s Free Ambulance Service operated with at least one ambulance on a 24-hour emergency basis, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a nonemergency or convalescent basis, according to Hilliard. People were transported to and from the hospital or doctor’s office in a modern, comfortable ambulance by courteous, efficient and knowledgeable attendants.
Free Food Program
The Black Student Alliance
Founded in May 1972 when several Black student unions in the Bay Area pulled together with the goal of creating concrete programs on the campus that would unify the student body and Black students with the Black community. In order to make Bay Area colleges better serve and be more responsible to the surrounding poor and oppressed communities, the Black Student Alliance instituted a program for free books and supplies; a free transportation program; child care services; a financial aid program; a food program serving good, nutritious food at reasonable prices; and the initiation of relevant courses along with the demand for better instructors.
The Black Panther Newspaper
The paper was the official organ of the Black Panther Party. It was a tabloid-size newspaper that published regularly every week starting in April 1967. It was copyrighted by Huey P. Newton and was 24 pages, distributed nationally. The Black Panther provided news and information about the work of the Black Panther Party chapters throughout the country; news and news analysis of the Black and other oppressed communities in the United States, Africa and around the world; theoretical writings of party ideologists; and general news features on all matters relative to the liberation of humankind from oppression of any kind, according to chief of staff David Hilliard’s summary of Panther programs.