Food for the People Exhibit: Free Food Program

Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, © Stephen Shames
August 4, 2021
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Two women with bags of food
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, © Stephen Shames

The Black Panther Party operated a Breakfast for Children Program and Free Food Program in cities across the country in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including in Washington, DC. Addressing rampant food insecurity in these communities, the Panther programs also helped expose the glaring need for an expanded national school breakfast program, which Congress voted to make permanent in 1975. Today, the U.S.’s School Breakfast Program feeds nearly 15 million students every day. (Gallery)

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