50 Year Anniversary – Black Panther Party Shuts Down Sacramento!
JOIN US ON MAY 2nd, 2017
It will be 50 YEARS to the date that the Black Panther Party took over the State Capitol for the right for Black folx to arm themselves and patrol their communities in place of the police, as well as protect their communities from the police.
While many of us have various views on the use of guns, we can agree on one thing BLACK PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS AS EVERY OTHER MEMBER OF THIS COMMUNITY.
Also, the state made some huge changes to how folks navigate on Capitol grounds, based on this very event.
SO WE WILL BE CELEBRATING THIS DAY TO…
– Discuss this rich California/Sacramento history
– Lift Black folks who are now unapologetically exercising their rights in spaces that normally don’t embrace Blackness
– Empower ourselves to continue to unapologetically own what should be available to us
– Push the needle in this fight for liberation as Black folk in this country.
We will be gathering at South Side Park and marching up to the State Capitol.
WHEN: May 2nd 2017
WHERE: Meet at South Side Park, march to the State Capitol
TIME: 12 – 3pm
ADDRESS: 2115 6th St, Sacramento, CA 95818
Some background/history on the Black Panther Party take over of the State Capitol on May 2, 1967…
“It began shortly after the shooting of Denzil Dowell. Easy Bay legislator Don Mulford introduced a bill to repeal the law that permitted citizens to carry loaded weapons in public places so long as the weapons were openly displayed [see link to California Penal Code, Sections 12031 and 171.c]. What the Mulford law sought to achieve was the elimination of the Black Panther Police Patrols, and it had been tagged “the Panther Bill” by the media.
The Police Patrols had become an integral part of BPP community policy. Members of the BPP would listen to police calls on a short wave radio, rush to the scene of the arrest with law books in hand and inform the person being arrested of their constitutional rights. BPP members also happened to carry loaded weapons, which were publicly displayed, but were careful to stand no closer than ten feet from the arrest so as not to interfere with the arrest.
Passage of the Mulford Bill would essentially end the Panther Police Patrols, so the BPP sent a group to Sacramento, California on May 2nd, 1967 to protest. The group carried loaded rifles and shotguns, publicly displayed and entered the State Capitol building to read aloud Executive Mandate Number 1, which was in opposition to the Mulford Bill. They tried to enter the Assembly Chamber but were forced out of this public place where they then read Executive Mandate Number 1 out on the lawn.
The legislature responded by passing the bill, thus creating the Mulford Act, which was signed into law by Governor Ronald Reagan. This step by the Black Panther Party was enough to put them into national prominence and was a stimulus for growth of the party within the young Black population.
“A group of thirty young black men and women, dressed in black leather jackets, berets, and dark glasses, crosses the lawn to the steps of the state capitol. Many of them are armed with shotguns, though they are careful to keep the weapons pointed towards the sky. As they approach the entrance to the capitol building, Governor Ronald Reagan, speaking to a cluster of schoolchildren nearby, catches sight of their advance, turns on his heel, and runs. Still marching in tight formation, the group reaches the steps, faces the crowd, and listens attentively as their leader, Bobby Seale,  reads Executive Mandate Number One of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense to the startled audience. The mandate, addressed to “the American people in general and the black people in particular,” details the “terror, brutality, murder, and repression of black people” practiced by “the racist power structure of America,” and concludes that “the time has come for black people to arm themselves against this terror before it is too late.”  Cameras flash as Seale finishes reading and the defiant group proceeds into the building. One wrong turn, and the delegation stumbles onto the Assembly floor, currently in debate over the Mulford Act, aimed to prohibit citizens from carrying loaded firearms on their persons or in their vehicles. Chaos ensues: legislators dive under desks, screaming, “Don’t shoot!” and security guards hurriedly surround the party, grabbing at weapons and herding everyone into the hallway. All the while cameramen and reporters run back and forth, grinning in anticipation of tomorrow’s headlines. “Who are you?” one manages to shout before the assembly is led into an elevator. Sixteen-year-old “little” Bobby Hutton is the first to reply, and his words remain an echo in the hallway just before the doors slide shut with a soft hiss:
“We’re the Black Panthers.
We’re black people with guns.
What about it?”