Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Stephen Brier

Committee Members

Debbie Sonu

Robyn C. Spencer

Mary Phillips

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Africana Studies | Curriculum and Instruction | Ethnic Studies | Oral History | United States History | Women's History


Black Panther Party, Oakland Community School, Black Education History, History of Education, Curriculum Studies


This dissertation frames the Black Panthers' Oakland Community School (OCS) as a convergence of Black self-determination/Black Power, Black education history, and curriculum studies. Drawing from widely-cited archives, rarely-cited archives, oral history, periodicals, and secondary source material, the proposed study extends the OCS narrative by tracing its curricular trajectory and highlighting the voices of students, parents, and staff. It considers how the school’s history provides examples of educational practices—such as restorative justice and culturally relevant pedagogy—that would not become named or popularized in mainstream education until much later, asserting that histories of this sort can inform educational endeavors in the present. Moreover, this work considers the OCS’ unique history and pedagogical possibilities.