Interview with Marion Stamps

Was your mother's reaction to Hampton and the Party fairly typical for the Black community?


Yeah. Um, many black people, initially were very very afraid of the Black Panther Party** because see you got to understand that before the Party came on the set, most of us was into a non-violent, Dr. King, uh, Whitney Young kind of framework of reference in terms of our Blackness. But then here you found some brothers and sisters saying, "First," you know, "look, the United States constitution guarantees us the right to bear arms and to protect ourselves. And we understand that we need protection in the Black community. And it's our responsibility to protect Black women and Black children, not the police, because the police is not here to serve and protect us, only to continue to enslave us. Ah, it is our responsibility to see to it that our people have a decent place to live, decent food to eat and quality health care, not the system." So that frightened a lot of people. I, I mean they didn't think that it could happen, they didn't think that it was right,** they didn't believe that this is what democracy was all about. But in fact the Black Panther Party practiced democracy in the American way better than the Americans did it. So.