Black Panther - David Hilliard - Black History and Literature Library
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  • Black Panther - David Hilliard - Black Activist, Black Man, Black Panther - Black History and Literature Library

    Black Panther - David Hilliard

    David Hilliard (born May 15, 1942) is a former member of the Black Panther Party, having served as Chief of Staff. He became a visiting instructor at the University of New Mexico in 2006. He also is the founder of the Dr. Huey P. Newton foundation.

    David Hilliard was born on May 15, 1942 in Rockville, Alabama to Lela and Lee Hilliard. David had six brothers and five sisters: Theodore, Allen, Nathaniel, Van, Roosevelt, Arthur, Rose Lee, Sweetie, Dorty Mae, Vera Lee, and Eleanora. His mother and father met in 1916 when his mother was 16, a little less than half the age of his father. In his childhood Hilliard met Huey Newton, who would later become the leader of the Black Panther movement.

    Hilliard became involved in the Black Panther movement in 1966 while living in Oakland, California. Huey P. Newton, Hilliard's childhood friend informed him of this organization which Bobby Seale and he were founding. This organization believed in defense of minority groups by any means necessary and followed a 10-point plan outlining "What We Want" and "What We Believe." Early actions of the Black Panthers involved intercepting in police brutalities through using arms to enforce police rules of conduct.

    After the arrest of Huey Newton on October 28, 1967 for an armed scuffle with the Oakland Police resulting in the death of Officer John Frey, David Hilliard acted as the interim leader of the Black Panthers. Hilliard helped to then organize a rally in February 1968 called the "Free Huey Rally" that drew 6,000 people.

    Hilliard was involved in the many programs organized by the Black Panthers. The Black Panthers organized programs called survival programs including: breakfast programs for schoolchildren, health clinics, and programs for prisoners. These programs were called survival programs because they simply help communities survive rather than addressing the systemic reasons behind these problems. These programs were free to those in need.

    In 1971 the Black Panther Party formed the Intercommunal Youth Institute. This program addressed the systematic oppression of African American students in the public school system. The Black Panthers believed that public schools failed to teach analytical skills that are necessary to survive in society. This school for children in Oakland taught children to analyze and criticize and respond with creative solutions.

    Free Health Care was provided to people who could not afford the cost of public health care through the People's Free Medical Research Health Clinics. These clinics provided service ranging from testing for sickle cell anemia to providing references and rides to outside experts.

    Other programs that Hilliard help organize included: a community learning center, after school programs, escorts to protect the elderly, and free clothing programs.

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