Thesis

Mediated memory: the case of the "Oak Park Four"

Thesis (M.A., History (Public History)) -- California State University, Sacramento, 2011.

The media has a direct role in creating and shaping perceptions about advocates in the black community specifically those who participated in the Black Panther Party and other black militant organizations. The governmental dissemination of inaccurate information to local law enforcement and news media outlets regarding black militants had a devastating effect on African American communities across the country. This study examines how the news media overtime helped to construct a negative image and memory of the Black Panther Party. In turn African Americans have created and forged their own counter memory through black institutions, such as the black press, to offset the public memory of black culture and revolutionary politics in America. Analyzing the case study of the “Oak Park Four” trial through examining The Sacramento Bee, The Sacramento Union and The Sacramento Observer demonstrates how the media and citizens of Sacramento went along with the popular perceptions of black militants of the time, which further fueled the racial divide between whites and the historically marginalized African American community of Sacramento, California who came to the support of the “Oak Park Four.” This study thus signifies the ease with which those working for social change within their communities could be targeted and silenced.

The media has a direct role in creating and shaping perceptions about advocates in the black community specifically those who participated in the Black Panther Party and other black militant organizations. The governmental dissemination of inaccurate information to local law enforcement and news media outlets regarding black militants had a devastating effect on African American communities across the country. This study examines how the news media overtime helped to construct a negative image and memory of the Black Panther Party. In turn African Americans have created and forged their own counter memory through black institutions, such as the black press, to offset the public memory of black culture and revolutionary politics in America. Analyzing the case study of the “Oak Park Four” trial through examining The Sacramento Bee, The Sacramento Union and The Sacramento Observer demonstrates how the media and citizens of Sacramento went along with the popular perceptions of black militants of the time, which further fueled the racial divide between whites and the historically marginalized African American community of Sacramento, California who came to the support of the “Oak Park Four.” This study thus signifies the ease with which those working for social change within their communities could be targeted and silenced.

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