In 1965, one year before the Black Power slogan emerged, the independent Lowndes County Freedom Organization stood up to white terror in the Deep South, using a black panther to symbolize its defiance. A number of black activists from northern cities provided material support for self-defense to the Lowndes County Black Panthers and asked Stokely Carmichael for permission to form Black Panther organizations in their urban centers. Consequently, Black Panthers developed in New York, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco. In New York, alongside Eddie Ellis, Ted Wilson, Donald Washington, and Walter Ricks, one of the leaders of the Harlem Panthers was Larry Neal, a cofounder of the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School.
In July 1966, with the public endorsement of Stokely Carmichael, the Harlem Party established headquarters at 2409 Seventh Avenue, near 140th Street, and a Malcolm X Liberation School. By September 1966 twelve Panthers were arrested in Harlem during a school boycott, their first direct-action campaign. The New York Times estimated their membership at one hundred. In San Francisco, the Black Panthers were in communication with Robert F. Williams, the exiled leader of RAM, in Cuba.
Between the Watts uprising in August 1965 and San Francisco unrest in September 1966, Newton and Seale began discussing the need for a new kind of organization of their own in Oakland; those exchanges resulted in the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in October 1966. Although Black Panther organizations emerged in other cities before the Oakland Panthers, the revolutionary grassroots party established by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale quickly developed a militant stance that propelled its members into the forefront of the Black Revolt. The definitive political style of the legendary Oakland Black Panther Party soon eclipsed the earlier Panthers in New York and San Francisco, expanding to a base of more than sixty cities with a membership of more than two thousand people.
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Larry Neal (photograph cited at "ChickenBones: A Journal for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes" [http://www.nathanielturner.com/blackartsmovementlarryneal.htm])