In the 1960s, the Black Panther Party introduced a program in the United States that was unheard of at the time — a free breakfast initiative for school children. At least 20,000 kids in 19 cities in the country were offered eggs, toast, grits, and other food every school day.
The program, inaugurated in 1969 in Oakland, California, was just one aspect of the Panthers’ wider community-based movement, which emphasized self-determination.
As the publication Black Perspectives explained, “One of the fundamental aspects of the [Panthers] was their commitment to serving black communities through a variety of social programs including ambulance services, health clinics, and the creation of schools. One of the most successful of these social programs was the Free Breakfast for Children Program, which provided food for children all across the United States.”
A new movement growing in Oakland aims to recreate this approach, filling in the spaces where…