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The Mission of the Black Panther Party Research Project

The Black Panther Party Research Project (BPPRP) developed out of a need to preserve the documentary history and legacy of one of the most controversial twentieth-century African American organizations. Our primary goal is to train high school through graduate school students and educators to conduct research on the Black Panther Party. Through hands-on research, participants explore the Black Panther Party's structure, organizing strategies, community service programs, and influence on contemporary society.

Under the direction of Angela Darlean LeBlanc-Ernest, participants acquire extensive research skills applicable to high school, college, graduate programs, and other aspects of life. Participants receive their training through archival research in the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, Inc., Collection at Stanford University, computer-based data entry projects, transcription of documents from BPP organization records, oral interviews with former members, and an intensive weekly seminar series based on published writings and archival research to promote informed discussion of Black Panther Party history.

The BPPRP's long-term goals include:

  • publishing finding aids in print and on the Internet to facilitate future research among the widest possible audience;

  • cataloguing the history of the BPP's greater than fifty community programs, to enable student activists to learn from the experiences of BPP members and to encourage students to develop their own academic and community service projects which draw upon these resources;

  • building a comprehensive collection of BPP history through acquisition of additional materials from diverse sources; disseminating publications that incorporate primary sources from BPP organizational records;

  • and conducting student and teacher-training workshops to facilitate the incorporation of social movement history into the educational curriculum.

The Project's summer program participants have the additional opportunity to connect the theory of organizing with the reality of program implementation through work with local organizations. Since June 1997, the BPPRP has volunteered with such community programs as the Children's Defense Fund-coordinated Freedom School in Oakland, California; the Peninsula Habitat for Humanity; the West Oakland Public Library; New Perspectives of East Palo Alto, a youth mentor program; and the Glide Extended Family Recovery Programs in San Francisco.

The Black Panther Party Research Project is affiliated with the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project at Stanford University.