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Bending the Bars of Empire from Every Ghetto for Survival: The Black Panther Party's Radical Antihunger Politics of Social Reproduction and Scale

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Abstract:

Among the most important political achievements of the Black Panther Party (BPP) was the success of their Free Breakfast for Children Program. At the Breakfast Program's peak in late 1969 and early 1970, the BPP and other volunteers fed thousands of children daily before they went to school across the country. The historic importance of the BPP's Breakfast Program rests both in the fact that it was imperative for the social reproduction of many inner-city communities and that it was both the model for, and impetus behind, all federally funded school breakfast programs currently in existence within the United States. At the heart of the BPP's Free Breakfast for Children Program and the spatial practices that led to its ultimate success are a set of scalar politics that played out as a result of (1) the failures of the U.S. national welfare state, (2) the BPP's evolved scaling of their revolutionary praxis, and (3) the local spatial practices they employed to serve the poor. All of these processes occurred despite attempts by the state to sabotage the BPP's political efforts.

Keywords: Black Panther Party; geographic scale; school breakfast program; social reproduction

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00045600802683767

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Georgia,

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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