While bringing in a paycheck, jobs running youth service programs at the North Oakland Neighborhood Anti-Poverty Center allowed them to develop a revolutionary nationalist approach to community service, later a key element in the Black Panther Party’s "community survival programs." Dissatisfied with the failure of these organizations to directly challenge police brutality and appeal to the "brothers on the block", Huey and Bobby sought to take matters into their own hands.After the police killed Matthew Johnson, an unarmed young black man in San Francisco, Newton observed the violent rebellion that followed.
The Black Panther Party instituted a variety of community social programs, most extensively the Free Breakfast for Children Programs, and community health clinics to address issues like food injustice.
and he supervised an extensive counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) of surveillance, infiltration, perjury, police harassment, and many other tactics designed to undermine Panther leadership, incriminate party members, discredit and criminalize the Party, and drain the organization of resources and manpower.
Huey and Bobby raised enough money to buy two shotguns by buying bulk quantities of the recently publicized Little Red Book and reselling them to leftist radicals and liberal intellectuals on the Berkeley campus at three times the price.
According to Bobby Seale, they would "sell the books, make the money, buy the guns, and go on the streets with the guns.
Black Panther Party membership reached a peak in 1970, with offices in 68 cities and thousands of members, then suffered a series of contractions.