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Black Panthers Party (U.S.)

Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

Last modified: 2016-07-28 by rick wyatt
Keywords: black panthers | african american |
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[Afro-American Red-Black-Green flag] image by Rick Wyatt, 5 April 1998

The flag that was most often associated with Black Panthers was the African American (Garvey) Flag.



See also:


Introduction: Black Panther Party
Black Panther Party for Self-Defense

The Black Panther Party, originally known as the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was an African-American revolutionary leftist organization founded in Oakland, California, by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in 1966. The Black Panther Party achieved national and international notoriety through its involvement in the Black Power movement and in U.S. politics of the 1960s and 70s. The organization initially claimed to be protecting the African American neighborhoods from police brutality, but the leaders soon claimed to be following Socialist and Maoist Communist doctrines. The party was active in the United States from 1966 until 1982. The flag that is most associated with Black Panthers was the African American Flag.

The second most popular flag featured the springing black panther, the party logo designed by Emory Douglas [1]. Such flags were used by the Lumpen, a music band which publicly supported the party c1970 [2], and also at the funeral of George Jackson in Oakland (shot to death by prison guards in San Quentin Prison during an escape attempt) in 1971 [3, 4]. Over the years there have been many variants of the panther design [5, 6], which was sometimes accompanied with the party name or other inscriptions [7]. Because of the use of black and white photography during the Black Panthers' heyday, many photos of the black panther flag appear to show white or gray backgrounds, although the flags frequently had light blue or yellow fields. The yellow was the same as used on the Gadsden Flag, which in the 1960s and 1970s was used by left-wing radicals, who were at the opposite end of the political spectrum from the Tea Party, its present users. The light blue used was the same as used on the Viet Cong flag although the shade seems to have varied considerably [7, 8, 9].

A flag with the panther under the words "FREE HUEY" was used at demonstrations against Newton's imprisonment in 1969 [10, 11, 12, 13]. The verified field colors are white [14] and light blue [15], and typeface variations also existed [16], as well as the flags with the inscription only and no panther [17].

Sources: (compiled by Tomislav Todorovic)
[1] Red Wedge magazine website - article about Emory Douglas.
[2] Studio 360 website - article about the Lumpen.
[3] Aperture website - Black Panther Party photos.
[4] San Franciso Bay View website - report on the funeral of George Jackson.
[5] Photo of various Black Panther Party badges.
[6] Photos of various Black Panther Party badges at Brooklyn Button Shop.
[7] The Bronx Journal website - Photos from the African American Day parade in 2012.
[8] UC Santa barbara Library website - essay on Black Panther Party and other civil rights movements in California 1960s-1980s.
[9] Photo of a Black Panther Party flag in contemporary use.
[10] Getty Images - Photo of Black Panthers' protest march in New York City.
[11] The Guardian website - article about the Black Panther Party.
[12] Artnet website - Photo of "Free Huey" flag bearer in 1969. (with fringe).
[13] Museum of the African Diaspora website - Photo of "Free Huey" flag bearer in 1969. Same photo as on Artnet website.
[14] Photo of a "Free Huey" flag with white field.
[15] Photo from the Black Panther Party reunion in Oakland, California, 2006.
[16] ConnecticutHistory.org website - essay about the Black Panther Party.
[17] Photo of a "Free Huey" flag with the inscription only.

Text Source: Historical Flags of Our Ancestors.

Pete Loeser, 27 September 2015


Black Panthers Party Logo Flag
White Variant

Black Panthers flag white variant image from Tomislav Todorovic, 27 September 2015

This flag featured the springing black panther, the party logo designed by Emory Douglas, was most certainly widely used by the Black Panthers Party and can be seen in many photos from the 1960s era.
Pete Loeser, 27 September 2015


Black Panthers Party Logo Flag
Yellow Variant

Black Panthers flag (Variant) image by Tomislav Todorovic, 27 September 2015

One of the three variant color designs that were in use by the Black Panthers Party had a the black springing panther logo on a yellow field. Although certainly not as popular as the blue field, in many black and white photos it was confused with the white fielded variant and certainly in use.
Pete Loeser, 27 September 2015


Black Panthers Party Logo Flag
Blue Variant

Black Panthers flag (Variant) image by Tomislav Todorovic, 27 September 2015

This blue field version was used at the funeral of George Jackson in Oakland in 1971, but it can also be seen in use during the 1960s. In several more contemporary pictures the background appears to be a more turquoise than blue.
Pete Loeser, 27 September 2015


The "Free Huey" Black Panthers Flag
White Variant

Free Huey Black Panthers flag image by Tomislav Todorovic, 27 September 2015

One of two variant designs used by the Black Panthers Party at the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland during the Huey Newton trial in 1968. In many photos this variant apparently had what appeared to be a gold (?) fringe.
Pete Loeser, 27 September 2015


The "Free Huey" Black Panthers Flag
Blue Variant

Free Huey Black Panthers flag variant image by Tomislav Todorovic, 27 September 2015

This blue field version was another variant design used by the Black Panther Party. It was seen at the 40th Reunion of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California, 2006.
Pete Loeser, 27 September 2015


Red Star Variant of the Garvey Flag
African American Flag (variant)

African American flag Red Star Variant image by Tomislav Todorovic, 27 September 2015

This variant of Garvey's flag with a red star in center of the black field and seen in Oakland, California in 1989, at the funeral of Huey Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party.
Tomislav Todorovic, 27 September 2015

On the other hand, the flag is definitely used by the African People's Socialist Party (APSP), another Black Power party which was founded in 1972, as well as by the African Socialist International (ASI), which was founded by the APSP in 1982. Since the party seat was in Oakland at the time of Huey Newton's funeral, it is possible that its members were those who actually brought the flag there.
Tomislav Todorovic, 7 February 2015