RACE + HISTORY

How a Free Breakfast Became the U.S. Biggest ‘Threat’

If feeding children is wrong, then we shouldn’t want to be right

Allison Wiltz
Published in
6 min readDec 2, 2021

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Brad Jones of Black Panthers Organization serves breakfast to youngsters | Photo Credit | Associated Press

We never learned about the Black Panther Party in Louisiana’s public schools. But, ironically, the free toast, grits, and orange juice many of my classmates enjoyed wouldn’t be available if it weren’t for the Black Panther’s Free Breakfast for School Children Program. Because of the free breakfast program organized in Oakland, California, by 1969, there were “hundreds of breakfast programs throughout the country.”

Noticing that most students didn’t eat or had never had breakfast before school, the Panthers began to provide free meals for all students in their communities.

While many White people feared the Black Panthers and labeled them as domestic terrorists, years later, it’s clear government officials unjustly smeared their organization. The Black Panther Party never turned away a hungry child, no matter their racial identity or their walk of life. Can White folks in this era say the same?

Black bravery is often mischaracterized as Black terrorism.

As I wrote before: “children who do not eat regularly are at higher risk for chronic illnesses like asthma…

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Allison Wiltz
Momentum

Womanist Scholar bylines @ Momentum, Oprah Daily, ZORA, GEN, EIC of Cultured #WEOC Founder allisonthedailywriter.com https://ko-fi.com/allyfromnola