Interview with William O'Neal

What, what were the major developments during that, that year of the Panther Party that you saw? Was it the programs? Was it the alliances that the Party was building? What were, what was the Panther agenda as you came to understand it?


To free Huey basically was the agenda of the Black Panther Party all along. Let it be no mistake, Huey P. Newton was locked down, the Black Panther Party was Huey P. Newton, and Huey P. Newton was the Black Panther Party. And no matter how powerful or strong our membership got in the, in the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, no matter how many speaking engagements Hampton had, how many donations we had, how many papers, there was always a national office out there to remind us that we were subservient to the national office, that we were just a chapter and we weren't the Illinois Black Panther Party, we was the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, and their goals at that point were to free their leader, who was locked down in Alameda County Jail facing the death penalty for killing a, a police officer. The party recognized at, at that point that they needed liaisons, they needed alliances with various groups in order to survive, basically, in the climate in Chicago. So they embraced the various political issues that was of the day. They got involved in all types of causes, mainly to fortify their position and to free their leader, Huey P. Newton, and he was effectively running the Black Panther Party from inside of the jails. Most of our political direction was mandated, came out through his lawyers and was passed on nationally through the chapters. It was Huey speaks.


OK, let's stop just for a second.