Senior History and Political Science double major Ben Wallis presented his summer TruScholars research “The Status of Marxism in the Black Panther Party” at the Summer Research Symposium on August 26, 2017. Founded in 1966 during a period of racial upheaval, war, and widespread disillusionment with the United States government, the Black Panther Party articulated a political program that broke with the liberal-oriented civil rights movement, promoting instead Black nationalism and anticapitalism. Wallis explored how the writings of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, and Malcolm X were of particular importance in shaping their ideology. He argues that the Panthers can be understood as one of the most important Marxist-inspired movements in United States history.
Travis Rolstead presented his paper “Backward and Diseased: American Perceptions of Arabs and Muslims in the Era of the First Arab-Israeli War.” Rolstead examined the extent and nature of coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict in American national and regional newspapers during the late 1940s. He found that media coverage heavily favored the Jewish-Israeli cause. Articles favorable to the Israeli cause outnumbered those favoring the Palestinian Arab one. Similarly, the media regularly conflated the terms Arab and Muslim, ignoring the presence of non-Muslim Arabs, and generally portrayed Arabs and Muslims in negative and stereotypical terms.