Conservatives are displeased with a federal grant announcement that they say honors the legacy of 1960s Black militants.
The Washington Free Beacon was among the first conservative news outlets to report that the National Park Service awarded the University of California, Berkeley a $97,999.70 grant for a research project on the Black Panther Party.
According to The Beacon, the grant announcement states that through research, oral history and interpretation, the project “will discover new links between the historical events concerning race that occurred in Richmond (California) during World War II and the subsequent emergence of the Black Panther Party in the San Francisco Bay Area.”
The project will document the lives of activists, how the party impacted culture and produce an annotative bibliography, among several things.
Some of the anger among conservatives is directed at the liberal leaning university. The Beacon underscored that the park service awarded the grant “outside the normal competitive bidding process.” It noted that Berkeley, which President Donald Trump threatened with a federal funding cut, has been intolerant of conservative voices, such as Milo Yiannopoulos.
Most of their contempt, however, is directed toward the Panthers.
Fuming Friday on his radio show about the grant, O’Reilly continued: “That should never in a million years happen. … I understand it’s a drop but it’s not necessary. Even if you agree with the Black Panthers, which very few Americans do because it was a Marxist, violent organization, you don’t waste a hundred-grand researching some dopey stuff.”
However, these angry conservatives have a limited historical view of the Panthers, a group formed in Oakland during the mid-1960s in response to state-sanctioned discrimination and violence against African Americans.
The Panthers launched quietly with an armed citizens’ patrol to monitor police brutality. But they captured national attention when they marched with their weapons into the California State Assembly. CBS News said state law at that time allowed open-carry firearms.
Bobby Seale, a co-founder of the Panthers along with Huey Newton, told CBS that the organization’s armed protest overshadowed its focus on community service.
Among its accomplishments, the Panthers organized free breakfast for children and health clinics in poor black communities, as well as conducted food and voter registration drives.