Black Panthers Ran a First-of-Its-Kind Oakland School. Now It’s a Beacon for Schools in California

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The Black Panthers opened their ‘community school’ in East Oakland in 1973—the first known school of its kind in the country—and it became known for providing free breakfasts to low-income children. For eight years until its 1981 closure, it was centered on caring for the “whole child,” providing three meals a day and developing a curriculum that highlighted Black history. The likes of Maya Angelou, James Baldwin and Rosa Parks visited its students.

In 2010, three decades after the Black Panthers’ experiment wound down, the Oakland Unified School District revived the idea of community schools for all K-12 grades.

Community schools differ from regular schools in key ways. First, they embed local organizations on campus to provide mental health support, food, academic help and after-school programs, among other resources. Second, the choice of which services to partner with is made locally—by students, parents and staff at each campus.”

Read the full story here.

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