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National Parks Service withdraws funding for the Black Panther Project

Still to be determined whether the project can keep going

Ava Iversen, Section Editor

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Though the National Park Service had promised to give $100,000 towards the Black Panther Party project, they decided to withdraw their funding due to letters of outrage sent after law enforcement groups wrote letters complaining to President Trump. The letter sent to the President outlined the grievances they had with the continuance of having this research group funded on the main basis that, in the past, the Black Panther Party was responsible for killing innocent people of law enforcement agencies.

“Why would the NPS seek to commemorate the activities of an extremist separatist group that advocated the use of violence against our country, a country they perceived as their enemy,” the letter said.

Most of the outrage the letter is trying to address is the Fraternal Order of Police’s compiled research that 16 officers in various forms of law enforcement were killed by Black Panther Party members, and their concerns that commemorating the group will inspire more violence towards police officers. Yet many on the side fighting to keep the research party running are outraged that people do not understand the full story of what the Black Panther Party is all about.

After its formation in Oakland, California in 1966 to help defend African Americans from unnecessary violence from police, the Black Panther Party evolved and began to voice their views on civil rights. They famously claimed that peaceful protests, such as those run by Martin Luther King Jr., were not going at a fast enough pace and called for a revolution. The group eventually fell due to internal conflicts, but their impacts did lead to them being on national news. California Representative Barbara Lee explained why it is important to learn more about this group.   

“[The Black Panther Party was] an integral part of the civil rights movement and the public has a right to know their history,” Lee said.  

As of now the funding for the Black Panther Party project is still withdrawn from the National Parks Service, and is the research project is unsure whether or not they will be able to go on with their efforts. However some might feel about the Black Panther Party, others contend that all the facts must be presented so everyone can form their own opinion on the subject. Simply obscuring the whole truth of what this group was all about is considered detrimental to the public by many.             

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