Pete O'Neal

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Pete O'Neal speaking at the UAACC

Felix "Pete" O'Neal, Jr. (born 1940), was the chairman of the Kansas City chapter of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s.[1]


On October 30, 1969, he was arrested for the transporting of a gun across state lines (under a law implemented only two weeks prior to his arrest). A year later a court convicted him and in October 1970, he was sentenced to four years in prison. O'Neal escaped on bail and he fled to Algeria, where a number of other Black Panther Party members had also absconded to in the face of imprisonment in the United States. This group became known as the "International Section" of the Black Panther Party, and was centered around Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver. A year later O'Neal moved on to Tanzania, motivated to immigrate there as the then President of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, was both a Pan-Africanist and Socialist. O'Neal has remained in Tanzania ever since.

Together with his wife, Charlotte Hill O'Neal, he is the co-founder of the United African Alliance Community Center (UAACC) in the village of Imbaseni, near the northern city of Arusha, Tanzania. The UAACC is a center focusing on healing the community by providing a diverse array of free art, music, film and other classes to members of the community. The UAACC also serves as a hostel for people travelling through the area—offering several "huts" with bunk beds. The center has been frequented by several celebrities, American politicians, study abroad programs, students, documentary film makers, and artists. Pete and Charlotte provide numerous jobs to locals of the community and the center is entirely run by local Tanzanians.

O'Neal's family still resides in the Kansas City area. He is a third cousin to US Representative Emmanuel Cleaver. Since 1991, Cleaver and others have unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a pardon for O'Neal, and took the issue to both President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama. Both declined to pardon O'Neal. [1][2]

His life and exile in Tanzania is the subject of the PBS documentary 'A Panther in Africa', by Aaron Matthews.[3]


  1. ^ a b McKinley Jr, James C. (23 November 1997). "A Black Panther's Mellow Exile: Farming in Africa". The New York Times.
  2. ^ New pardon push for Kansas City Black Panther founder Pete O'Neal living in exile in Africa, KSHB, Andy Alcock, April 5, 2016. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  3. ^ POV - A Panther in Africa

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