Spending Bill Relaunches NPS Plan to Commemorate Black Panthers – Thursday July 1, 2021 – www.eenews.net
In 2017, the National Park Service got a grant of $ 98,000 that would have commemorated the legacy of the militant Black Panther Party after the Fraternal Order of the Police complained to President Trump that he would honor the “cop killers. “.
Four years later, the plan is back.
Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee revived the idea as part of a $ 43 billion EPA interior spending bill that the panel is expected to pass today.
The bill, which would set funding for fiscal year 2022, which begins Oct. 1, supports a proposed “reconnaissance survey” of Black Panther sites in Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area to determine s ‘they should be part of the NPS, calling it “an important step to protect and interpret” the nation’s struggle for civil rights and racial equality.
The wording is included in a report accompanying the bill that the committee released yesterday.
On Capitol Hill, the issue became a top priority for Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), A senior member of the credits committee who volunteered for the Black Panthers in the 1960s. project, she called the move “scandalous”.
“The Black Panther Party was an integral part of the civil rights movement, and the public has a right to know its history,” she said at the time.
In California, the problem has grown in recent months with backing from Fredrika Newton, the widow of Black Panther Party co-founder Huey Newton, who has urged local city councils to approve resolutions calling on the NPS to lead the ‘Hopefully survey sites are either a national park or a national monument. She also asked the NPS to re-authorize the grant.
“We believe the outcome of the investigation will clearly indicate the need to establish a National Park Service historic site or monument,” Newton said in a letter to a member of Berkeley city council in December.
While Congress could order a study that would likely take years, supporters of the plan say President Biden could get the job done much faster, using his power under the Antiquities Act to designate Black Panther sites as national monument.
The NPS grant four years ago was reportedly given to the University of California at Berkeley to help fund the “Black Panther Party Research, Interpretation and Memory Project,” a two-year effort proposal that called for identifying party-related sites and creating a “complete collection” of Black Panthers history.
In a grant announcement, NPS officials said the project would also have documented “BPP’s impact on visual arts, music, dance, and styles of the 1960s, 70s and 80s” to show “the immensity of its impact on American culture “. NPS has pledged to provide staff, resources and technical expertise to help the university with the project.
But NPS quickly scrapped the idea in October 2017 after Chuck Canterbury, a Trump ally who was then national president of the Fraternal Order of the Police, wrote a letter to the president who called the BPP a “violent and disgusting organization”.
Among other things, Canterbury, who Trump later appointed to become director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said members of the Black Panther Party were involved in the murders of 16 law enforcement officers. , including NPS ranger Kenneth Patrick, who was shot during a traffic stop at Point Reyes National Seashore in August 1973.
“At a time when many in our country are convinced that the memorials of the darkest moments in our history must be removed from public lands, why would the NPS seek to commemorate the activities of an extremist separatist group that advocated the resorting to violence against our country – a country they perceived as their enemy? ”Canterbury wrote.
Neither the NPS nor the Fraternal Order of Police responded to a request for comment on the bill.