About the BPOCSRC
Learn about the cluster's background and view the BPOCSRC team members and previous years' fellows in one place!
The proposed Black Panther Oakland Community School Research Cluster will involve undergraduate and graduate students with faculty, staff, and community scholars to support the creation of public humanities projects. These include:
1. An interactive “yearbook” website, featuring digital content (photos, video segments, audio clips) of former students, teachers, and parents. This digital archive features past and present narratives and images of the people involved in the OCS. It will serve as a database for future researchers and a companion resource for the documentary film;
2. An OCS traveling exhibit featuring never-before-seen images from the rare BPP collection kept in custodial care of a former BPP photographer for more than 40 years;
3. A documentary film/video series about the OCS.
What is the OCS?
In 1971, the Black Panther Party (BPP) founded its longest running social service program, the Oakland Community School (OCS), which operated for eleven years and served as a model for education for Black and poor children living in urban communities. The school’s innovative practices of mindfulness and restorative justice appear in educational institutions today. The UCI research cluster will partner with the Oakland Community School Documentary Project, led by community-based scholar Angela LeBlanc-Ernest with the support of and in consultation with former Panther leader and OCS director, Ericka Huggins. The UCI partnership with the OCSDP will provide undergraduate and graduate students substantive opportunities to access the rich archival and oral history collection that LeBlanc-Ernest acquired over three decades of research. In addition, the university-community partnership will model the principles proposed by the research cluster: a centering of community archives, a recognition of community activists, and the process of creating meaningful stories through film and public humanities projects.
Centering Community and Activism in Research, Preservation, and Storytelling
This research cluster fundamentally reorients the approach to intellectual and cultural production. Whereas “traditional” scholarship tends to posit a disconnect between the researcher and the researched, this cluster seeks to form collaborations that bring together the university and the community. The principles that our research cluster seeks to promote include:Listening to and working with the community to preserve important experiences and stories and to facilitate public access to these materials. Recognizing activists as organic intellectuals who identify forms of inequality, develop solutions, and work collectively to affect change. Ethically amplifying these stories through the creation of cultural and intellectual work by filmmakers, creative writers, and academics. Our research cluster seeks to explore these approaches to intellectual and cultural production and to involve researchers (faculty, students, and staff) to draw linkages between creating community-centered archives, the process of documenting experiences and visions of activism, and utilizing these materials for transformative storytelling.
Research Cluster Team
Assoc. Dean, School of Humanities
Center for Liberation, Anti-Racism, & Belonging (C-LAB) Director
UCI Humanities Center Director