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Free Breakfast for Children

The Free Breakfast for School Children Program was a community service program run by the Black Panther Party. The Panthers would cook and serve food to the poor inner city youth of the area. Initiated in January 1969 at St. Augustine's Church in Oakland, California, the program became so popular that by the end of the year, the Panthers set up kitchens in cities across the nation, feeding over 10,000 children every day before they went to school.[1]


  • Survival Programs 1
  • Chicago 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5

Survival Programs

In the mid-1960s, Black Panther Party chapters developed a series of social programs to provide needed services to black and poor people. Their intent was to promote "a model for an alternative, more humane social scheme." These "serve the people programs," of which there came to be more than 60,[2] were renamed Survival Programs in 1971[3] and were operated by Party members under the slogan "survival pending revolution."

One such program was the Free Breakfast for Children Program, which began in January 1969[4] at a church in west Oakland, and spread to many cities in America where there were Party chapters.[5] The Free Breakfast Program became the central organizing activity of the group, and became its most lasting contribution to American society.[6] Thousands of poor and hungry children were fed free breakfasts every day by the Party under this program. The Panthers believed that "Children cannot reach their full academic potential if they have empty stomachs." The reach and success of the program in so many communities underscored the inadequacies of the federal government's then-flagging and underresourced lunch programs in public schools across the country. When federal authorities began focusing greater attention on black nationalist groups in 1969, they assailed the free breakfast program as nothing more than a propaganda tool used by the Party to carry out an insurrection. Among other actions intended to undermine the program, authorities raided breakfast program locations while children were eating.[7] Furthermore, the FBI denounced the Party itself as "the most 'active and dangerous' black nationalist threat to internal security", bent on overthrowing the U.S. government.[1][4][8]


In Chicago, the leader of the Panthers local,

  • Katsiaficas, George N.; Kathleen Cleaver (March 2001). Liberation, Imagination and the Black Panther Party: A New Look at the Their Legacy.  
  • Abu-Jamal, Mumia (May 2004). We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party. South End Press. pp. 69–70.  


  1. ^ a b "Rise of the Black Panther Party". Black Panther Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Black Panther Party Community Programs (1966-1982)". The Black Panther Party Research Project. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  3. ^  
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ Bloom, J., & Martin, W. E. (2012). Black against Empire : The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party. Berkeley, CA, USA: University of California Press. p. 182.
  6. ^ Levine, Susan (2008) School Lunch Politics: The Surprising History of America's Favorite Welfare Program. Princeton University Press: Princeton, p.139.
  7. ^ Bloom, J., & Martin, W. E. (2012). Black against Empire : The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party. Berkeley, CA, USA: University of California Press. p. 187.
  8. ^ Bloom, J., & Martin, W. E. (2012). Black against Empire : The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party. Berkeley, CA, USA: University of California Press. p. 185.
  9. ^ Baggins, Brian. "History of the Black Panther Party". Marxists Internet Archive. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 


See also


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