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KNOXVILLE — A month-long program about the Black Panther Party, including a forum in which former members will discuss the group and its impact on American society, is under way at the University of Tennessee.

Founded in 1966, the Black Panthers have been a critical force in the struggle to end oppression.

Photos and artifacts will be on display in the Hodges Memorial Auditorium and the Black Cultural Center through April 5. The Black Panther Film Series features three film screenings – March 6, March 27 and April 2.

The program will culminate with a series of public forums March 31 through April 2. Party members David Hilliard, Fredrika Newton and James Calhoun will take part in discussions on the education and organizing of the party, party media and music, and civil rights lessons from the past. Michael Hanson, professor of teaching and writing on race and the media at the University of California at San Diego, will join the panelists.

The events — all of which are free and open to the public — are sponsored by Ready for the World, UT’s international and intercultural initiative to enhance the culture of diversity on campus; the Central Program Council’s Visual Arts Committee, which strives to bring art exhibits from around the U.S. to campus; the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences; and the UT vice president’s Office of Equity and Diversity. Other sponsors include the UT Black Cultural Center, College of Law, College of Arts and Sciences, and the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tenn.

Events Schedule

Photo and Artifact Exhibit
March 5 to April 5 — Hodges Memorial Auditorium, exhibit open during regular library hours; and Black Cultural Center Rooms 102-104, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Films, all 7 to 9:30 p.m. in Hodges Memorial Auditorium
• March 6 — “Panther”
• March 27 — “A Huey P. Newton Story”
• April 2 — “Survival Pending Revolution”

Forums, Etc.
March 31
• 3 to 5 p.m. — “What Was the Black Panther Party?” University Center Auditorium. Speakers will be David Hilliard, Fredrika Newton and James Calhoun.

• 5:30 to 7 p.m. — Reception at Black Cultural Center, Rooms 102-104. Hilliard will sign his books.

April 1
• 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. — “The Black Panther Party: Media and Music,” Hodges Memorial Auditorium. Speakers will be Michael Hanson and James Calhoun.

• 1:45 to 3 p.m. — “The Black Panther Party: Education and Organizing,” Hodges Memorial Auditorium. Speakers will be David Hilliard, Fredrika Newton and James Calhoun. Moderator will be Michael Hanson.

• 5:30 to 7 p.m. — “What Was the Black Panther Party?” Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 1927 Dandridge Ave., Knoxville. Speakers are David Hilliard, Fredrika Newton and James Calhoun. Hosted by the Beck Cultural Exchange Center and sponsored by UT. Contact: Joe Evelyn Valentine, (865) 524-8461,

April 2
• 9 to 10:30 a.m. — “A Conversation: Civil Rights Lessons from the Past for the Present and the Future,” Highlander Center, 1959 Highlander Way, New Market, Tenn. Speakers will include David Hilliard, Fredrika Newton, James Calhoun and Michael Hanson. Hosted by the Highlander Center and Sponsored by UT. Contact: (865) 933-3443,

Speaker Bios

David Hilliard is a founding member and former chief of staff for the Black Panther Party. One of the leading authorities on the life, legacy and intellectual history of Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton, Hilliard is executive director of the Oakland, Calif.-based Huey P. Newton Foundation.

Fredrika Newton joined the Black Panther Party as a youth member in 1969. She met Huey P. Newton in 1970 and married him 11 years later. After he died in 1989, Newton established the Huey P. Newton Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization, in 1993. As the foundation’s president, she operates the community-based programs, which include literacy, voter outreach and health-related components. Newton also coordinated the Black Panther Legacy Tour that has been featured in The New York Times and on CNN, MTV, NBC, ABC, CBS and NPR.

James Calhoun is founder of the Black Panther F.U.G.I.T.I.V.E.S. hip-hop group. Both his parents were early members of the party. His father, Bill Calhoun, founded and performed with the Black Panther Party singing group, The Lumpen. At age 7 James and his mother, Sukari Finley, moved to New York, where he was raised side by side with her friend and fellow Panther Afeni Shakur and her son, Tupac. James and Tupac’s common history as Panther children led them to a number of musical collaborations. As a member of the hip-hop community for more than 20 years, Calhoun has produced and/or performed with Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, Naughty by Nature, Dave Hollister and others.


Michael Skladany, (865) 974-7029,
Rebekah Winkler, (865) 974-8304,