The Black Panther began as a four-page newsletter in Oakland, CA, in 1967, founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. It was the main publication of the Black Panther Party , and was sold in several large cities across the United States, as well as having an international readership. The Newspaper distributed information about the party's activities, and expressed through articles the ideology of The Black Panther Party, focusing on both international revolutions as inspiration and the current racial struggles of African Americans across the United States.
The Black Panther Party maintained a commitment to community service including various "survival programs" developed by individual chapters that, by 1969, became part of the national party's "serve the people program" to connect their commitments to basic social services with community organizing and consciousness raising. The Black Panther Party's Intercommunal News Service published The Black Panther Party Newspaper as a critical part of its consciousness raising program.
The Black Panther Party Newspaper is also known as The Black Panther Intercommunal News Service, Black Panther Black Community News Service, and Black Community News Service, was published by the Black Panther Party from 1969 to 1980. The newspaper was most popular from 1968-1972, and during this time sold a hundred thousand copies a week.
An undergraduate student at San Francisco State, Judy Juanita, served as editor at The Black Panther Party Newspaper during the later 1960s. In 1969, two-thirds of Black Panther Party members were women.
In its later years it was used to rally support for members of the party who became political prisoners.
"The BPP newspaper grew from a four-page newsletter to a full newspaper in about a year and about 500 issues were printed".
Circulation was national and international. From 1968 to 1971, The Black Panther Party Newspaper was the most widely read Black newspaper in the United States, with a weekly circulation of more than 300,000. It sold for 25 cents. Every Panther was required to read and study the newspaper before they could sell it. As it became nationally circulated, The Black Panther Party Newspaper national distribution center was located in San Francisco, with a distribution team led by Andrew Austin, Sam Napier, and Ellis White. Other distribution centers were in Chicago, Kansas, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle.