Those are very poignant questions my brotha. And I can only answer from my perceptive in terms on what long term affect did the black panthers have on the chain link from slavery to presidency. There are those who believe that the black panthers [small caps intentionally] made an impact after the civil rights movement by advocating an eye for an eye approach i.e. the use of guns to level the battle field with the establishment i.e. massa. Also during those times we had the vietnam war, womens rights flairing up and the [nonviolent]civil rights movement versus the [violent] revoluionary war against massa. I really think that once nationwide notoriety of panthers became apparent, super egos emerged causing conflict within the organization...which contributed to the downfall.
The America, raises questions about the Black Panther Party and how they are positioned historically.
I would say that the BPP were one of the main groups of radicals that threatened the psychological security of the FBI during the obvious protest of the vietnam war. They were unrelentful[sp] in their demands and made it absolutely clear they were willing to die for it[just as gangs are willing to die today for a street corner they have no ownership to] This threat inspired the FBI to dismantle the black panther party [ with unsuspecting raids and constant survelliance[sp]] by whatever means necessary. And they succeeded.
How will the Black Panther Party measure up historically against these and other former great crusaders and social change agents?
For me the panthers were polar opposites to Marshall, King, Evers and even Malcolm-probably due to their open violent and angry position toward white people [they showed that they were not afraid of the klan or any other white supremacist]. And I think for the most part they will be remembered historically as the violent catalyst that fueled the frustrations of young black teens [at the foot of Jim Crow]who grew tired of being powerless victims of police racism, profiling targets and constantly brutalized in their broken-down make shift communities-which goes in line with other rebellious uprisings in our history first as slaves and then as noncitizens of the United States of America.
For me? I could NEVER see them as crusaders maybe social change agents. I say social agents only because their public activities and fearlessness did bring full exposure to the promises or demands mandated in the civil rights movement. I don't think that they had anything to do with creating the demands for equality per se but do believe that they had a hand in showing massa what will happen if those demands are not met. But it is the way panthers did their business within the community that rubbed me the wrong way. They were very abusive to their comrades and young recruits. Plus they had huge egos that wouldn't allow clear thinking in the ranks including competition with who had the most women which added to the social turmoil within the group that REALLY was one of the causes that destroyed the panthers' cohesiveness or for a better word unity. Couple that with their adversaries [other radical groups] that also wanted a piece of the political limelight and you have a explosion [between what may be considered gang rivaly] getting ready to happen. And in many cases it did. Therefore less than a decade their goals transited from revolutionary leadership to gang banging destruction. But!
BTW: I remember as a young recruit to the panther chapter..it was a sign of being cool and accepted in the community as part of the black power struggle...but! I learned very quickly it was mainly about control. This chapter used to use a stick to discipline their recruiters and new members. I was a rebellious kid but when I saw that stick? I became history. I was gone so fast all one saw was a seat impression where I once sat. But!.