On May 2, 1967, twenty-four black men and six white women dressed in blue shirts, black berets, and black leather jackets ascended the steps of the capital building in Sacramento, California. Across the street, the journalists covering Governor Ronald Reagans speech to 200 eighth graders were quickly distracted. Armed with loaded rifles and marching in military formation, the newly formed Black Panther Party for Self-Defence had come to protect what was their legal right. Under an obscure California law, it was legal to carry non-concealed, loaded weapons. With microphones in his face and photographers clambering, Party Chairman Bobby Seale began reading the Panthers first message to the American people: Black people have begged, prayed, petitioned, demonstrated and everything else to get the racist power structure of America to right the wrongs which have historically been perpetrated against black people. All these efforts had been answered by more repression, deceit and hypocrisy. . .
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