In the latest chapter of right-leaning newsgroups and placing a high value on disrupting the proceedings of Berkeley, California, the Chronicle reports that an almost-$100,000 grant from the National Park Service to fund a project honoring the Black Panther Party has been revoked after blowback from conservative websites and law enforcement pressure. A UC Berkeley professor’s Black Panther memorialization funded by the Park Service had been approved in September, but the "Black Panther Party Research, Interpretation and Memory Project" was quietly taken off the table.
“After an additional review of the project, the NPS decided not to move forward with funding the project,” a Park Service spokesperson told the Chronicle.
The project would have been bolstered historical archives on the Panthers and landmarked sites of historical significance. “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,” the grant said, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
“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 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 conservative media agitation came in large part from that same Washington Free Beacon. Those of you following the developments of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Indictment Monday will recognize the Washington Free Beacon as the site that originally funded the Steele dossier that investigated Donald Trump, the report that produced allegations of what we now call the “pee tape.”
But the Fraternal Order of Police was also pissed. “As far as we are concerned the only meaning
[the Black Panther Party] brought to anyone’s lives was grief to the families of their victims,” the president of the FOP wrote in an Oct. 19 letter to President Trump. “Members of this militant anti-American group murdered 16 law officers over the course of their history. Among their victims was U.S. Park Ranger Kenneth C. Patrick.” (Patrick was shot in Point Reyes in 1973.)
The $97,999 grant would have been awarded to UC Berkeley’s incoming chair of African American Studies Ula Taylor, a specialist in Black Panther history and a consultant on the 1995 Mario Van Peebles film Panther. UC Berkeley had little comment on the matter, with university spokesperson Dan Mogulof saying, “the park service has the answer, not the campus. And in terms of why they rescinded it, they have the answer, not the campus.”