Nition of the term scholar as exclusively defined

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nition of the term scholar as exclusively defined through formal education, the only kind of access to the "inside" of complex thinking. While a person participating in an alternative economy might remain on the "outside" of the mainstream, Huggins views experience as qualification for knowledge. She takes black people from a marginal status, "outside," and places them on the "inside" at the center of knowledge production. Similarly, the affect in her personal narrative is repositioned as critical to the inside of history. Huggins s approach to history resolves the kinds of exclusions that would otherwise marginalize black people. This view reframes the very notion of legitimate sources and the official historical record. She adds, "The prostitutes and the former gang members that were in the Los An- geles chapter that I first joined were scholars. They could tell you how the United States s infrastructure oppressed us. They didn't read it in a book, they didn't learn it in a class" (Interview by the author, February 20, 20 1 0) . In its confrontation with the status quo, Huggins s point of view inverts social hierarchy to render the underground as mainstream. She acknowl- edges the marginal as critical in articulating a complex understanding of social power structures. Like Huggins, the BPP defined intellectuals very differently. BPP leaders mandated no formal training for members to be recognized as scholars.3 In their political praxis, Panthers considered lived experiences as knowledge. Consequently, the black community already consisted of individuals whose members possessed and maintained crit- This content downloaded from 128.228.0.70 on Wed, 06 May 2020 15:48:19 UTC All use subject to
40 Mary Phillips ical insight into the political discourses of the structural inequalities that affected them. Huggins s oral history represents a black woman's subjectivity as the counter narrative to the institutional modes of knowledge and power that would render her silent. As Robyn Spencer explains, "Black women have remained on the outskirts of Black Power: their marginality central to the movements definition, but their agency and empowerment within the movement effectively obscured" (2008, 91). To date, there are few book- length manuscripts and an even smaller amount of oral histories on women in the black power era and the BPP.4 Huggins s recollections also attest to the inefficiencies of mainstream historiography and its attendant role in ranking social value. Interviews allow women to serve as the "representa- tions of their own reality" (Gluck and Patai 1991, 3). This analysis still res- onates in thinking about the value of oral history as a form of scholarship. In their argument, the interviewer and interviewee engage in a crucially important relationship of trust and negotiation in the oral collaboration process. Intimacy with the source privileges a new "inside," in which the personal narrative gives voice to the humanity of the marginal. Nwando

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