The National Park Service is spending roughly 100,000 taxpayer dollars for a research project seeking to “honor the legacy” of the Marxist revolutionary group, the Black Panther Party. Adding insult to injury, it is awarding all of that money to the University of California, Berkeley, to do the research.
During the past year, the university has been a hotbed of political confrontation as it repeatedly lets violent protesters stop others from exercising their rights to free speech on its campus.
Claiming that Berkeley is “uniquely qualified” to produce a history that honors the Black Panther Party, the National Park Service announced it was awarding the university a $97,999.70 grant for the project, outside of the normal competitive bidding process, according to a report in the Washington Free Beacon on Thursday.
According to the NPS announcement:
This cooperative research project between the National Park Service (NPS) and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) on the Black Panther Party (BPP) is anchored in historical methods, visual culture, and the preservation of sites and voices.
The project will discover new links between the historical events concerning race that occurred in Richmond during World War II and the subsequent emergence of the BPP in the San Francisco Bay Area two decades later through research, oral history, and interpretation.
Committed to truthfully honoring the legacy of BPP activists and the San Francisco Bay Area communities they served, the project seeks to document the lives of activists and elders and the landscapes that shaped the movement.
Producing an annotative bibliography that includes scholarly texts, newspaper, and magazine articles will be useful for future scholars of the movement. Equally significant, the project will document how the BPP impacted the visual arts, music, dance, and styles of the 1960s, 70s and 80s [and] will underscore the vastness of its impact on American culture.”
Bay Area sites that shaped the BPP will be identified in an effort to memorialize a history that brought meaning to lives far beyond the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Black Panther Party was founded in 1966 and originally championed self-defense and the arming of African Americans in California. The party quickly moved to the left, advocating for “revolutionary inter-communalism” and abolishing capitalism.
Black Panther Party founder Huey P. Newton introduced a 10-point platform that called for “an end to the robbery by the capitalists of the black community” and for all black men to be immediately released from prison.
The FBI notes that the Black Panther Party advocates for “the use of violence and guerilla tactics to overthrow the U.S. government.”
The group dissolved in 1982. The New Black Panther Party was the subject of a voter intimidation case when two of its members stood outside a polling station in Philadelphia wearing paramilitary clothing and holding a billy club during the 2008 presidential election. Original members of the Black Panther Party say the new group, which identifies as a black nationalist organization, has no connection to their party.
The National Park Service said the goal of the research project is to create a “model for bringing diverse voices and communities together to understand their collective past and inspire a better future.”
The government said it will have “substantial involvement” in the project, including providing staff and conducting regular reviews of the materials and progress of the work.
Berkeley’s campus has been a favorite venue for violent, anti-free speech riots by far-left groups Antifa and “Black Bloc” several times this year. A mob protesting a speech by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos in February led to injuries and $100,000 of damage to the university. Masked Antifa members threw commercial-grade fireworks and rocks at police, as well as Molotov cocktails.
The school is currently preparing (though at Berkeley, they don’t prepare for free speech events, they brace themselves for the protests which will likely put an end to those events) for a planned free speech event with conservative pundits Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter and Steve Bannon, chairman of Breitbart News and former adviser to President Donald Trump.
Berkeley is offering counseling sessions for students offended by the conservative speakers who are coming to campus (maybe). Police received permission to use pepper spray, which has been banned in the city since 1997, against anticipated violent protesters.
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