The Oppressed Teaching the Oppressed

The Black Panthers' Oakland Community School as a "Pedagogy of Hope"


  • Alyssa Lego Boston College


education, history


The Oakland Community School (OCS), founded by the Black Panther Party, emerged as a pioneering institution in the 1970s, providing comprehensive and revolutionary education for Black and underprivileged students in Oakland, California. This paper explores how the OCS embodied Paulo Freire's "pedagogy of hope" and served as a catalyst for culturally responsive education models. Through an analysis of primary and secondary sources, the paper examines the OCS's unique approach to education, including the teaching of Black Panther Party ideology within classrooms. Drawing upon Freire's concepts of liberatory education and pedagogy of the oppressed, the paper highlights the alignment between OCS experiences and Freire's framework. The three components of liberatory education and pedagogy of hope are explored in relation to the OCS, and the paper concludes with a discussion of transformative education and the use of the dialectic at the OCS. By connecting the OCS model and Freire's inspirations, the paper sheds light on the relevance of culturally responsive education in contemporary contexts.