Oakland: Soul Student Advisory Council, 1968. Offset. 8 1/2 x 11 in. Slight creasing on right side; else near fine. Item #6767
Flyer for a celebration in honor of the first graduating class of Merritt College’s African-American Studies Program, one of the first such programs in America.
In 1963, in their first organizing project, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale led a group of Merritt College students to demand a Black history course. Newton and Seale subsequently formed the Soul Student Advisory Council—a direct precursor to the Black Panther Party—in 1966 to push for the development of a Black Studies curricula. While the program at Merritt College would not gain official accreditation from the Department of Education until 1970, the flyer is an artifact from one of America’s first Black Studies programs, dating the Merritt College program to at least a year before San Francisco State became the first American university to gain official accreditation for its program. That the curriculum for Merritt College’s program was developed by the precursor organization to The Black Panther Party demonstrates the radical political milieu from which Black Studies university programs originate.
A document from the birthplace of The Black Panther Party, the movement to develop Black Studies programs and curricula in America, and the mutually flowing influence between the Black avant-garde and political vanguard.