Alondra Nelson (Colombia, Sociology)
Monday March 12, 2012
College 8, 301
Between its founding in 1966 and its formal end in 1980, the Black Panther Party blazed a distinctive trail in American political culture. The Black Panthers are most often remembered for their revolutionary rhetoric and militant action. Here Alondra Nelson deftly recovers an indispensable but lesser-known aspect of the organization’s broader struggle for social justice: health care.
The Black Panther Party’s health activism– its network of free health clinics, its campaign to raise awareness about genetic disease, and its challenges to medical discrimination–was an expression of its founding political philosophy and also a recognition that poor blacks were both underserved by mainstream medicine and overexposed to its harms.
Nelson argues that the Party’s focus on health care was practical and ideological and that their understanding of health as a basic human right anticipated current debates about the politics of health and race.
This event is co-sponsored with Sociology and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies.