There were many facets to the generation that spawned the protest era of the late 1960s, including anti-war activism, free speech, civil rights, and a general anti-establishment vibe, all of which spread throughout the San Francisco area. Community groups like the Diggers sprang up to help people in need in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, providing free clothes, food, and medical care. The Black Panther Party pushed numerous social initiatives, as well, such as creating a Free Breakfast for School Children program that fed tens of thousands of hungry kids -- and provided inspiration for today’s government-run breakfast program for kids.
Power to the people:
- The Black Panther Party was formed in 1966 to address police brutality in Oakland, California. A faction led by Stokely Carmichael began advocating self-determination for African-Americans, which became known as Black Power.
- The Black Panthers' free breakfast program began at an Episcopal church in Oakland. Party members and volunteers solicited donations, consulted with nutritionists, and prepared and served the food free of charge to underprivileged children. The initiative spread across the country in the early 1970s.
- The program addressed a critical community need and also helped to counter the militant image of the Black Panthers that was held by many Americans.