Origin of the Black Panther Party logo
examples of source material from the H.K. Yuen Archive

The Lowndes County Freedom Organization in Alabama was also called the Black Panther Party because it used the symbol to represent the organization as was required by state electoral law. Although there was no formal organizational relationship between that Black Panther Party and the subsequent Black Panther Party for Self Defense organized in Oakland, California, several figures - including SNCC field organizer Stokely Carmichael - served to bridge these two key organizations in the Black power movement. In a speech delivered at the 1966 S.D.S.-sponsored "Black Power and Change" conference at U.C. Berkeley, he said:

"In Lowndes County, we developed something called the Lowndes County Freedom Organization. It is a political party. The Alabama law says that if you have a Party you must have an emblem. We chose for the emblem a black panther, a beautiful black animal which symbolizes the strength and dignity of black people, an animal that never strikes back until he's back so far into the wall, he's got nothing to do but spring out. Yeah. And when he springs he does not stop.

Now there is a Party in Alabama called the Alabama Democratic Party. It is all white. It has as its emblem a white rooster and the words "white supremacy" for the write. Now the gentlemen of the Press, because they're advertisers, and because most of them are white, and because they're produced by that white institution, never called the Lowndes Country Freedom Organization by its name, but rather they call it the Black Panther Party. Our question is, Why don't they call the Alabama Democratic Party the "White Cock Party"? (It's fair to us.....) It is clear to me that that just points out America's problem with sex and color, not our problem, not our problem. And it is now white America that is going to deal with sex and color."


interior panel of brochure for the Lowndes County (Alabama) Freedom Organization, circa October, 1966


Lowndes County Freedom Organization ballot logo
flyer for "Black Power and its Challenges" conference rally at UC Berkeley, October 29, 1966


Black Panther Party logo

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