Living for the City: Migration, Education, and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California / Edition 1

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In this nuanced and groundbreaking history, Donna Murch argues that the Black Panther Party (BPP) started with a study group. Drawing on oral history and untapped archival sources, she explains how Oakland, a relatively small city with a recent history of African American settlement, produced such compelling and influential forms of Black Power politics.

During an era of expansion and political struggle in California's system of public higher education, black southern migrants formed the BPP. In the early 1960s, attending Merritt College and other public universities radicalized Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and many of the young people who joined the Panthers' rank and file. In the face of social crisis and police violence, the most disfranchised sectors of the East Bay's African American community-young, poor, and migrant-challenged the legitimacy of state authorities and of an older generation of black leadership. In excavating this hidden history, Living for the City broadens the scholarship of the Black Power movement by documenting the contributions of black students and youth who created new forms of organization, grassroots mobilization, and political literacy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Offers a fresh perspective on East Bay black activism. . . . An engaging work that adds to the expanding literature on the interplay between black migration and political mobilization.—Journal of African American History

Well-researched, smoothly written. . . . A testament to the liberating impact of higher education. . . . It is quite doubtful if any [study] will surpass this one in terms of imagination, clear writing, deft scholarship and weighty conclusions.—Gerald Horne, Journal of American Studies

A provocative reinterpretation of the origins of the Black Panther Party in Oakland....Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.—Choice

Creates an important framework of analysis of local black radical politics by placing higher education and southern black migrants as central to its development.—Pacific Historical Review

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Donna Murch is assistant professor of history at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Abbreviations xiii

Introduction 3

Part I City of Migrants, 1940-1960

1 Canaan Bound 15

2 Fortress California 41

Part II The Campus and the Street, 1961-1966

3 We Care Enough to Tell It 71

4 A Campus Where Black Power Won 97

Part III Black Power and Urban Movement, 1966-1982

5 Men with Guns 119

6 Survival Pending Revolution 169

7 A Chicken in Every Bag 191

Conclusion 229

Notes 237

Bibliography 277

Index 305

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