November 19, 2010
by John Adams
On Nov. 11, Illinois Wesleyan University's ALANA organization hosted
speaker David Hilliard, a founding member of the Black Panther Party,
in IWU's Hanson Center. It was a tremendous learning opportunity as
he presented us with a true history of their revolution from its
inception to their work today.
It soon became obvious that we have been largely misinformed as to
the real effects and influences the Black Panther Party has had on
our history. We learned how many of our present-day freedoms came
about largely because of the struggles and oppressions of these
Americans rising up and making desperate changes amid the turmoil of
civil rights movement.
Why does this history lesson still remain hidden?
He spoke about the present-day concerns of America, problems of urban
decay, unemployment, educational standards and nutritional needs of Americans.
The biggest lesson he gave us that evening, however, was that the
real struggle in our society is just beginning and, as this man of 68
years old explained, we are still engaged in this great battle for our freedom.
Where is our American education standard today? How did a Black
Panther Party school founded in the poverty of Oakland, Calif., by
this so called revolutionary party come to achieve one of the highest
educational standards in their state's history? What else might we
learn today from the teachings of the Black Panther Party?
Perhaps it's time to reread and rewrite our true American history.