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Black Panther Party commemorates 50 years at Oakland Museum of CA

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The Black Panther Party is approaching its 50th anniversary and a group of them gathered Friday for an anniversary celebration at the Oakland Museum of California. (KGO-TV)

The Black Panther Party is approaching its 50th anniversary and a group of them gathered Friday for an anniversary celebration at the Oakland Museum of California.

The one-time radicals are somewhat mellower, but just as committed to social change. They have traveled a long, dedicated road from the turbulent 60s to still being alive in their 70s in a new millennium.

If you ask a Black Panther today the important stuff inside never changes.

"I get really emotional when it comes to this stuff," said former Black Panther Bobby Brown.

"That is the greatest misunderstanding. That we were not thugs. We were revolutionaries. One man's terrorist is another man's liberator," said former black Panther Party chairperson Elaine Brown.

The Black Panther Party began in Oakland. Beyond protesting, they used to serve breakfasts to kids, all part of a movement that preached love of self, history and community.

What seemed cutting edge in the days of Huey Newton is now part of the current dialogue.

"In the black community we have always been respected and celebrated," brown said.

"The news media had jumped us up to be a bunch of gun-toting thugs when that was not what we were about. We were about love for our people and making our people better," former Black Panther Timothy Thompson said.

In telling that story, the Oakland Museum will do its part, with a 10,000 square foot exhibit. Rene de Guzman faces quite the challenge of putting it together.

"I think what you will get is that the Black Panther Party was a positive movement," he said.

A revelation to some about a revolution that's 50 years old.

Related Topics:
societyAfrican Americanspoliticsmuseum exhibitOakland
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