History in the Making

Document Type



Despite the multitude of research available on the Black Panther Party (BPP), the group’s widespread social activism programs and their positive effect on the health of communities, is generally understated. These programs, known by the party as “survival programs,” provided a plethora of services meant to increase the standards of living of underserved people, all at no cost. Such programs included a series of People’s Free Medical Clinics, Free Breakfast for Children programs, and several Liberation Schools, including the widely successful Oakland Community School. When looking at these programs within the context of reproductive justice, or the framework of study which holds that people have an inherent right to reproduce, to not reproduce, and to raise children in environments suitable for families, the BPP’s contribution to the said field is undeniable. As such, “The Black Panther Party and Reproductive Justice” seeks to uncover the deep connection between the BPP and the notion of reproductive justice, positing that the party through the creation of its numerous survival programs, acted as an early vanguard of reproductive justice before it was fully conceptualized.