by Billy X Jennings, Curator
Wednesday, 23 January 2008
This exhibit is in celebration of the Oakland Learning Center, which
was started 35 years ago in East Oakland. The Black Panther Party
started this school as a model for decent education. The center
housed a school, which won awards for its curriculum from the state
Legislature. The Learning Center served as an oasis in the Oakland
community. Thousands of youth attended programs there provided by the
Black Panther Party.
The exhibit will be up in the History Room at the Oakland Main
Library, 125 14th St. in Downtown Oakland, through April 15.
Ericka Huggins wrote about the school in 1995: "When members of the
State Department came to visit the school, they had their minds blown
because they thought they would see a storefront. What they saw
instead was a valuable and replicable educational model in the inner
city. It offered a quality education, with cultural resonance on par
with a private school. It was located in the inner city but the
parents, who were poor, did not have to pay tuition. We moved to the
larger site because we wanted the community and its children to be
able to come to school. It wasn't insular or exclusive. Party members
wanted their children to be able to connect with other children."