In equal rights was Cannon 2 considered a

In the last half of the 20th century, Black
activists who had endured racial segregation and abuse for decades after their
ancestors had endured slavery a century before, fought back with riots,
marches, and manifestos. After slavery had been abolished in the 19th
century, the Black Codes were installed in the 20th century as laws
to criminalize Black people for completing the simple actions that White people
were legally allowed to fulfill. As a result, the prison system was saturated with
Black prisoners imprisoned for mediocre infractions.

            The
Attica Prison riot occurred in 1971, at the Attica Correctional Facility in
Attica, New York. The prison inmates, the majority of which were African
American, were protesting their inhumane living conditions, and absence of
political rights they were forced to endure and abide by. Enraged by the death
of George Jackson, a prisoner at San Quentin State Prison, about 1,000 Attica
prisoners stormed the penitentiary, and took control, taking hostage of 42 prison
staff. During the riot, the prisoners crafted a manifesto that outlined the basic
human rights that were withheld from them by the laws created by the government,
and were therefore entitled to. “22. We demand an end to the discrimination in
the judgement and quota of parole for Black and Brown people” (Attica prisoners
34). Point twenty-two in the manifesto demands for the parole board to not discriminate
against African Americans and other oppressed groups when sentencing parole. In
the manifesto, each demand is listed in numerical order and in all caps,
creating a sense of urgency within the reader. In that time period, asking for
equal rights was

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Cannon 2

considered a radical statement, that would snowball
into a series of unwanted, significant changes at the federal and societal
level. The intended audience of the manifesto were the “”sincere people of
society” (Attica prisoners 29), who were mainly white, and consisted of the
government and the parole board of the prison.

            The
Black Panther Party was an African American revolutionary socialist
organization founded in the 1960s by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. The group was
originally created to protect the African American community from police
brutality, but proceeded to become advocates for the exemption of African
Americans from the draft, the release African Americans from prisons, and
demanded paid compensation to African Americans for the centuries of
exploitation by White Americans. The Black Panther Party believed the usual
symbolic strategies of language and imagery were ineffective in bringing an end
to the racial oppression. Symbols were considered inadequate to eradicate the
root of most unjust conditions that existed: capitalism. The premise for the Ten Point Program was the party’s unofficial
mission statement: economic exploitation is the source of all persecution in
the United States and internationally, and the termination of capitalism is an
essential requirement of social justice. “7. We want an immediate end to police
brutality and murder of black people, other people of color, all oppressed
people inside the United States” (Newton, Seale 149). Point seven in the Ten Point Program asks for an immediate
and indefinite end to police brutality against African Americans and other
oppressed people. The rest of the point corroborates the main statement,
propositioning for the right for African Americans and other people of color to
defend themselves with weapons against the “fascist police forces” (Newton,
Seale 149) in their communities. The Ten
Point Program challenges the forces of capitalism by combining influences
from the Bill of Rights and

Cannon 3

the Declaration of Independence, even including an
excerpt from the Declaration of Independence, the beginning of capitalism in
the United States. The intended audience was African Americans in the United
States, and the government. The Black Panthers wanted to build unrest in black
communities to empower them to take action. They also targeted White Americans due
to the US government being comprised of dominantly White leadership.

            Both
the manifesto from the Attica riot and the Ten
Point Program from the Black Panther party were successful to some degree.
The Attica manifesto was successful in getting the attention of society, the
intended audience. It gave birth to the modern prison movement, emboldening
incarcerated people to assert their rights. However, it failed to end
discrimination against African Americans prisoners, which was the ultimate
goal. The Ten Point Program also failed in its ultimate goal, which was to
reach the government. However, it did reach Black communities within the United
States, played a meaningful role in the development of the civil rights
movement, raising awareness in society to the unfair and unjust treatment of
Black Americans.