Hundreds expected to gather in Oakland to honor the 50th anniversary of the “Black Panther party”

black-panther-party

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Hundreds of former Black Panthers from around the world are expected to gather in Oakland, California, for a four-day conference, in part to honor the forming of the party 50 years ago.

The Panthers emerged from the gritty city in 1966.

The new party formed  to defend African-Americans against police brutality and protect their rights.

During the group’s short life, it launched a breakfast program for children and opened free health clinics.

Party members also scared mainstream America with their calls for revolution that were at odds with Martin Luther King Jr.’s insistence on peaceful protest.

The Panthers disbanded by the early 1980s after being weakened by internal fighting and a government effort to undermine them.

The anniversary comes as new tensions have given rise to another social-justice movement with Oakland ties – Black Lives Matter.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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