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Black Panther Party Archivist and Historian Bill X Jennings is the curator of Louder than Words: A Portrait of the Black Panther Movement, focused on the Party’s social justice and community programs. The Collins Memorial Library exhibit features a broad range of artifacts, including original pamphlets, newspapers, memorabilia and copies of the books on the Panther reading list.
The Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland, California, by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton while they attended college. Motivated by the Civil Rights Movement, the assassination of Malcolm X, and riots in Los Angeles, the initial impetus for the party was to protect local African American neighborhoods against police brutality. However, the party was more than armed patrols. It also established free breakfast programs, health clinics, and some of the first drug education programs.
Billy grew up in San Diego and moved to Oakland in June 1968. He was a member of the Black Panther Party from 1968 to 1974. He currently works to maintain the legacy of the Black Panther Party, running the website It's About Time which was started by former members of the Black Panther Party in Sacramento in 1995.