After announcing a $98,000 grant to UC Berkeley for research on the Black Panther Party, the National Park Service has since decided not to fund the project amid backlash.
The anticipated length of agreement for the grant was from Aug. 30, 2017 to Sept. 30, 2019, and the funding was allocated to a research project at UC Berkeley focused on the legacy of the Black Panther Party, a Black revolutionary organization originally founded in Oakland. National Park Service spokesperson Craig Dalby confirmed in an email Thursday that the project will no longer receive funding from the National Park Service.
The principal investigator of project is identified as Ula Taylor, professor and incoming chair of the UC Berkeley department of African American studies, in the Notice of Intent to Award issued by the National Park Service. The project aimed to “memorialize a history that brought meaning to lives far beyond the San Francisco Bay Area,” according to the notice.
“The overarching goal is … to implement a NPS model for bringing diverse voices and communities together to understand their collective past and inspire a better future,” the notice stated.
Taylor could not be reached as of press time despite multiple requests for comment. UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof said he declined to comment on the matter, adding that campus administration is not involved in the research funding process.
After the announcement of the grant, the National Park Service received widespread criticism. The National Fraternal Order of Police wrote a letter to President Donald Trump on Oct. 19 expressing “outrage and shock” about the grant. Additionally, an online petition created Oct. 20 to stop the National Park Service from awarding the grant has received 4,815 signatures as of press time.
“(W)hy would the NPS seek to commemorate the activities of an extremist separatist group that advocated the use of violence against our country?” said Chuck Canterbury, president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, in the letter.
According to Dalby, although a notice of availability for the UC Berkeley project was posted on Grants.gov, the cooperative agreement was not yet finalized.
“After an additional review of the project, the NPS decided not to move forward with funding the project,” Dalby said in his email.
Staff writer Olivia Nouriani contributed to this report.