(1969) The Black Panther Party: To Feed Our Children

Bill Whitfield of Kansas City Black Panther Party serving free breakfast, April 16, 1969
© William P. Straeter/AP Images, Fair use image

In the editorial below that first appeared in the Black Panther Party newspaper in April 1969, the leaders of the Party make the case for the nationwide Panther Free Breakfast for School Children Program.

To Feed Our Children

The Free Breakfast for School Children is about to cover the country and be initiated in every chapter and branch of the Black Panther Party. This program was created because the Black Panther Party understands that our children need a nourishing breakfast every morning so that they can learn.

These breakfasts include every nutrient that they need for the day. For too long have our people gone hungry and without the proper health aids they need. But the Black Panther Party says that this type of thing must be halted because we must survive this evil government and build a new one fit for the service of all the people. This program is run through donations of concerned people, and the avaricious businessmen that pinch selfishly a little to the program. We say that this is not enough, especially from those that thrive off the Black Community like leeches. All of the avaricious businessmen have their factories, etc. centered in our communities and even most of the people that work in these sweat shops are members of the oppressed masses.

It is a beautiful sight to see our children eat in the mornings after remembering the times when our stomachs were not full, and even the teachers in the schools say that there is a great improvement in the academic skills of the children that do get the breakfast. At one time there were children that passed out in class from hunger, or had to be sent home for something to eat. But our children shall be fed, and the Black Panther Party will not let the malady of hunger keep our children down any longer.

The Breakfast Program has already been initiated in several chapters, and our love for the masses makes us realize that it must continue permanently and be a national program. But we need your help, and that means money, food, and time. We want to turn the program over to the community, but without your efforts and support we cannot. We have had a few mothers to come down to the breakfast in the mornings to cook and serve, but not hardly enough. This is the people’s program, for the people, and we want the people to assist in it. We are holding a community meeting May 3, 7:30 p.m. at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church on 27th and West in Oakland, concerning the Breakfast Program. We will have a movie of the children participating in in the Breakfast Program, your children, to show to all of the members of our community*. Speakers from the Black Panther Party shall inform you on the achievements of the Breakfasts, and the ways that you can assist. Hunger is one of the means of oppression and it must be halted. POWER TO THE PEOPLE.