The U.S. National Park Service announced last week that it will be awarding the University of California, Berkeley, a little under $100,000 for a project dedicated to “truthfully honoring the legacy” of Black Panther Party activists.
Berkeley’s program, titled “Black Panther Party Research, Interpretation & Memory Project,” aims to bring together a multitude of voices and populations to “understand their collective past and inspire a better future.” With regard to the Black Panther Party, this includes identifying important BPP sites around Oakland, Calif., and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, as well as collecting and documenting how the BPP impacted the “visual arts, music, dance, and styles of the 1960s, 70s and 80s.”
The Black Panthers continue to be a widely misunderstood group and are often mischaracterized as a terrorist organization. But as this HuffPost article mentions, the BPP helped monitor police interactions in Southern California’s black communities way before the advent of camera phones, as well as launching a free breakfast program for children in impoverished neighborhoods.
According to Okayplayer, the program will be led by Berkeley’s incoming chair of the Department of African American Studies, Dr. Ula Y. Taylor, and will tap consultants like J. Tarika Lewis, the first woman to join Oakland’s BPP.
Berkeley’s Black Panther project is slated to run from Aug. 30, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2019.