Poverty and reduced public services characterized these urban centres, where residents were subject to poor living conditions, joblessness, chronic health problems, violence, and limited means to change their circumstances.
Such conditions contributed to urban uprisings in the 1960s (such as those in the Watts district of Los Angeles in 1965, among others) and to the increased use of police violence as a measure to impose order on cities throughout North America.
Davis did, however, have strong connections with the party and taught political education classes for it.
From the outset, the Black Panther Party outlined a Ten Point Program, not unlike those of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and Nation of Islam, to initiate national African American community survival projects and to forge alliances with progressive white radicals and other organizations of people of colour.
A number of positions outlined in the Ten Point Program address a principle stance of the Black Panther Party: economic exploitation is at the root of all oppression in the United States and abroad, and the abolition of capitalism is a precondition of social justice.
Eldridge Cleaver designed clothes in the 1970s and ’80s before joining the anticommunist Unification Church en route to becoming a born-again Christian and a registered member of the Republican Party.
From its founding in 1966, the influence of the Black Panther Party assumed a transnational character that went beyond the creation of support groups for the organization.