Berkeley Gets $98,000 From National Park Service For Black Panther Tribute

Getty Images

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
Font Size:

The National Park Service (NPS) is giving $98,000 to commemorate a violent student protest group: the Black Panther Party.

The Washington Free Beacon reports that the park service is offering money to UC Berkeley so that it might “honor the legacy” of the ’60s-era organization that preached a communist revolution and upheld black nationalism. The money was awarded as a grant that was not subject to competitive bids.

“This cooperative research project between the National Park Service and the University of California, Berkeley on the Black Panther Party (BPP) is anchored in historical methods, visual culture, and the preservation of sites and voices,” the funding announcement reads.

“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.”

The NPS claims it is committed “to truthfully honoring the legacy of BPP activists and the San Francisco Bay Area communities they served,” while it wants to examine achievements of “activists and elders…that shaped the movement.”

And don’t forget the Black Panther’s impact on pop-culture: “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.”

The BPP has its origins in the student radicalism of the 1960s and was originally envisioned as a “self-help” society to gain self-defense skills and community pride for black Americans. But the group always projected an aggressive image that often included arming oneself, which led to several confrontations with police that resulted in shoot-outs. The BPP was committed to eradicating capitalism, which it regarded as a product of “white imperialism,” and sought the establishment of a revolutionary communist government in America.

So why is the NPS spending taxpayer dollars to commemorate the group? It describes the objective as producing a “model for bringing diverse voices and communities together to understand their collective past and inspire a better future.”

It is giving the money to UC Berkeley because the institution is “uniquely qualified” to do the job — apparently because it has been and remains the center of violent, leftist student protest.

But, while Berkeley used to test the parameters of free speech in America, today it often stifles that right by allowing students to riot when conservative speakers attempt to offer their political perspective. Students who are really offended by opposing view points can apparently access counseling services at the university.

Follow David on Twitter