What did the Black Panther mean?
Well, the Black Panther meant to, maybe to the peoples Lowndes County a little bit different of what it did in California.
The Black Panther party in, in, well, the Black panther itself as a symbol to the organization, was a symbol of the same thing that the rooster was to the Democratic party. It was a symbol that we thought that it was a vicious animal, and who, if we was attacked, it would, it would not back up. That we would fight back if we had to do it. We would move back if we had to move, but we wasn't going to go back into a corner and just stay. And that's why we chose that symbol as a Black panther. We knew that the White people in this county feared the panther also. They didn't want, ah, people to fight back. As long as in a political organization, or as long as people would not fight back, they thought they could just do them like wanted to. But if we decided to fight back, people would take their hands off us. And then, when we chose that symbol as the Black panther, then many of the peoples in our county started saying we were violent during that time, you know, the, now you've got a violent group in Lowndes County who is turned out, who is going to start killing Black pe--White folks. But it wasn't that, it was a political, just a symbol to our organization that we was here to stay and we were going to do whatever needed to be done to survive**. And that's what that symbol meant to us.