Monday, February 13, 2017

Ambassadors Attend "Women in the Black Panther Movement"

To kick-off Black History Month here at UMSL, a UPB Lunch and Learn was held titled “Women in the Black Panther Movement” on February 7th. Some of our Ambassadors went to this event to show support and educate themselves on one of America’s most historical and influential groups for civil rights in our country.

What are your first thoughts when you hear the words Black Panthers? Do the images of hyper-masculine men appear? Or do you get the image of a group of men who organized a breakfast program for young minorities so that they could do better in school? The latter unlike the former is something that most people haven’t had the chance to hear about or see until they do the research themselves. Another aspect of the Party that is not widely known is the fact is that most of the organization consisted of women.  The Black Panthers: Vanguards of the Revolution documentary explores legacy of the Party and the role of women in The Black Panther Party.

The women such as Deborah Johnson, Ericka Huggins, Kathleen Clever, Ora Williams, and Phyllis Johnson just to name a few had a very strong impact on the Party as a whole. Phyllis Johnson was responsible for answering phones and Ora Williams making breakfast and others were to aid in contacting member of Congress. These positions may seem very mundane compared to what was being portrayed in the media. However, these leadership roles were the glue that held the organization together.

But there were times that the women did challenge their current roles and spread their message throughout media. They thought if they were being portrayed as they were: strong, intelligent, and independent, they could potentially empower other women to stand up for the issues that they believed in. So the next time you think of The Black Panthers, also think about how much of an impact women had on the Party as a whole.

Join us the rest of the month at other Black History Month events, which can be found here: .

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