The main focus of many of these resources, including written materials as well as source videos, is the first 4.5 years of the 16-year arc of the life of the organization (especially the 2.5 years from 9/68-2/71). Dr. Pinderhughes has outlined BPP history as encompassing 4 periods which differ markedly from each other (see Periodization in RESOURCES). These periods are:
---The Founding Revolutionary Period (10/1966-8/1968)
---The National Revolutionary Period (9/1968-2/1971)
---The National Period of Decline (3/1971-4/1973)
---The Regional Period of Decline (5/1973-6/1982).
His analysis argues that:
---Most of the initial public attraction to the BPP in the 1960s and 1970s,
---Most of the Federal government repression [COINTELPRO] faced by the party,
---The creation of the most popular “Serve the People Programs” (later renamed “Survival Programs”) ex. Free Breakfast for Children, Free Medical Clinics, Free Clothing, Free Busing to Prisons, Liberation School,
---The consolidation of the BPP around socialism and the Panthers’ first organization-wide application of Marxism,
all occurred during the National Revolutionary Period (9/68-2/71). As a result, in Dr. Pinderhughes’ view, most of the historic fascination with the party in the 50 years since is best informed by studying the Black Panther Party during this peak period.
In his assessments of the Black Panther Party, Dr. Pinderhughes frankly discusses party shortcomings as well as successes. In the spirit of the Panthers during their National Revolutionary Period, Dr. Pinderhughes’ perspective is based on scientific socialism’s criticism-self-criticism approach to organizational evaluation.