Interview with William O'Neal

What did you think about the Panthers at that time? What, what framework did you understand them in, what did you think about the Civil Rights Movement? How did they fit into your understanding of politics and--?


I, I grew up in a middle class neighborhood, and I had very little idea of, of--I was apolitical. The Panthers I had heard of only from a recent article, I think, that had occurred in the paper. Huey P. Newton had just been in a shootout with the, with the Oakland Police Department and one of them had died, and there was a lot press about that. But prior to the articles I had read about Huey P. Newton, I knew nothing of the Black Panther Party. In fact, the day I joined I was pretty sure it was just another gang, unlike, not unlike the Blackstone Rangers, or, or the Cobras or something. I had no idea of, anything about their politics.