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Oakland Celebrates 55th Anniversary of the Black Panthers

Howzell BPP
Melinda Young Stuart
Flickr / Creative Commons
Grave Marker commemorating Bobby Hutton in Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland.

A film festival, healing circle, and augmented reality app launch are just a few of the offerings scheduled for the Black Panther Party’s 55th Year Celebration.

The Black Panther Party was founded on October 15, 1966, in Oakland by Merritt College students Bobby Seale and Huey Newton to support the needs of the Black community. The Party offered a wide range of services including legal aid, food, housing, education, and healthcare.

Since 2005, a group called the Black Panther Party Alumni & Legacy has commemorated October as Black Panther Party History Month.

This year’s anniversary celebration kicked off two weeks ago at downtown Oakland’s Joyce Gordon Art Gallery, which launched an exhibition of Black Panther Party archives and artwork.

Most local events will take place at the end of next week and directly engage historical sites around the city. Those include West Oakland’s Bobby Hutton Park and It’s All Good Bakery, which currently operates at the site of the Party’s original headquarters.

The celebration will conclude on Sunday, October 24 with the unveiling of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Memorial Bust in West Oakland. The bronze statue is designed by Oakland-based artist Dana King.

You can find more information about this month’s events at bpp55thyearcelebration.com.

I am a researcher and writer from Oakland, CA. I cut my teeth in radio at my college station and since graduating, I’ve worked as a paralegal, arts administrator, maritime historian, and most recently, a fellow at WorldAffairs, a global politics radio show and podcast co-produced with KQED. In my work, I am interested in the intersections of race, climate, and labor rights as well as place-based narratives of marginalization and the relationship between local history, public space, and identity formation, especially among queer and BIPOC communities. I am also passionate about drawing on the performing arts—particularly theater and music—to develop interview/storytelling practices grounded in mutual repair and community-building.