New Directions with Dr. Robyn C. Spencer
Tuesday, May 22, 2018  6:00 PM
Delaware History Museum - Wilmington
New Directions in African American Heritage


Dr. Robyn C. SpencerDr. Robyn C. Spencer, Associate Professor, Department of History at Lehman College, City University of New York, will speak on her book, The Revolution Has Come:  Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland (Duke University Press, 2016).

The presentation will be followed by a book signing.

The story of the Black Panther Party (BPP) reveals the complexity of everyday life in working-class African American communities.  Focusing on the role of black women in the Party provides an even deeper exploration of the development of community-based and public policy solutions to the problems of under-resourced schools and the impact of mass incarceration on black family life.    Spencer argues that “solutions the Panthers sought, such as community control of the police, freedom for political prisoners, and an end to poverty and war, remain central in many struggles for justice today.  Although this book centers on Oakland…the BPP’s commitment to making linkages with revolutionaries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean made it one of the most effective ambassadors for Black Power.”  In the 1970s, the BPP as an organization was revitalized under the leadership of women, and across the country experimented with truly collective structures for providing health care, child care, and education to their members and the larger black community. This period has been the least-studied aspect of their history, but the Party’s engagement with urban renewal, alternative education, and community control reflects a continuation of the quest for Black Power.

Robyn Spencer earned her B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University.  Since she began studying social movements as an undergraduate history major, Professor Spencer’s inspiration has come from the examples of those who made often incalculable sacrifices to fight injustice, racism, and sexism.  In addition to being a published scholar and college teacher, Spencer is a committed activist and participates in many community education initiatives aimed at bringing the history of the Black Power movement to community-based spaces, educating others about the contributions of urban, working-class African Americans, especially women, to the Black freedom movement. She has presented her work at close to a dozen universities, several correctional institutions in Pennsylvania and K-12 classrooms in the Bronx. She has also participated in seminars aimed at educating high school teachers about the latest interpretive trends in her field and partnered with the New York Public Library to work on public events preserving local history in Astoria, Queens. In 2016 she served as one of the co-editors of the Radical Teacher special issue on “Teaching Black Lives Matter.”

Part of Wilmington 1968 programming schedule (click here for additional information and to view the 1968 video)  

Co-sponsored by
Delaware Humanities Forum

Reservations requested; please click here to reserve.

FREE parking available at 6th and Shipley Street courtesy of Colonial Parking.


Delaware History Museum
504 N. Market Street


The Delaware History Museum (1940) was originally a Woolworth's Department Store. It has been transformed into the Delaware History Museum and the Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage. It features permanent and rotating exhibitions, classrooms, and meeting space.

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The Delaware Historical Society is the statewide, non-profit organization that explores, preserves, shares, and promotes Delaware history, heritage, and culture to strengthen our community.