Back in 2017, the National Park Service considered making the Black Panther Headquarters in Oakland, California a national historical park.
The idea was quickly shut down because of the “concerns” from police groups citing that commemorating a violent separatist group was wrong. It also didn’t help that Donald Trump was the president at the time.
Fast forward to now, the idea may come to fruition.
According to GPB News, The Black Panther HQ could possibly become the 41st addition of the National Park Service’s “African American experience sites”.
The HQ would join many other sites including Little Rock Central High School and Selma. The National Park Service is also looking to add two more sites in Mississippi, both sites are in consideration in the effort of remembrance of Black people slain. Three civil rights workers; James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were murdered in 1964. The second site may be a location that spotlights the murder of Emmitt Till. Most of the African American site in the National Park System are places where injustices occurred.
Alan Spears, senior director for cultural resources at the National Parks Conservation Association believes the time address to these horrific stories is now.
I think there’s a great deal of pain out there, and it’s the pain that comes from having unresolved history and history that’s been deliberately overlooked and neglected.
And sometimes that makes them controversial to some people, but critical to folks like myself, who think that we gain much more than we lose by taking a direct look and a candid look at our history and our past.
The only monument that references the Black Panther Party is the bronze bust of leader Dr. Huey P. Newton in Oakland. Former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover called the Panthers the “greatest threat to internal security.” The American black-lash of the Black Panther Party started long ago, and it has taken this long for America to sort of understand where they are coming from. The Black Panther HQ in Oakland was also a hub for its various social programs, such as free breakfasts for children, medical clinics, community outreach and education programs.
Fredricka Newton, wife of the late Huey Newton, believes the perception of the Black Panther Party was always mistaken.
It’s one of the most misunderstood legacies of this party.
It wasn’t hate. It wasn’t a nationalist organization. It was not a racist organization.
Our mission was to fight oppression for all oppressed people.
In order for the Black Panther HQ to become a national park an act established by Congress needs to be in play. Of course the president needs to confirm the act by signing it into law.
With Democratic President Biden in charge, the chances are certainly higher.