Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2021

Author's School

College of Arts & Sciences

Author's Program

African and African American Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (A.B.)




This thesis explores the history and legacy of the Oakland Community School (OCS), a community survival program created by the Black Panther Party (BPP) that ran from 1973-1982. More specifically, the work analyzes the significance of the pedagogy at OCS as it relates to the development of African American students' racial consciousness and identity formation. Despite popular misconceptions of the Black Panther Party, this research seeks to demystify the Party, provide an understanding of the critical need for education as a site of liberation, and explore the Party’s effort to establish an educational space that impacted the development of identity, self- awareness and racial consciousness for Black girls in particular. This will also serve to broaden the discussion of Black girlhood in the late 20th century (especially in the 1970s and 1980s) as it developed in the context of educational spaces, broader urban Black communities, and the groundbreaking social movements.


Jonathan Fenderson

Additional Advisors

Michelle Purdy, Sheretta Butler-Barnes