Alondra Nelson on KRCL: All the Radio You Need
SALT LAKE CITY, UT (krcl) - Though popularly known for militant, revolutionary protest, The Black Panthers were also fierce advocates for health reform in African-American communities. Professor Alondra Nelson revisits their history and lesser known healthcare activism in her new book, Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination. Later in the program, singer-songwriter David Rovics joins us to share his perspective visiting the Occupy movement around the country.
Alondra Nelson recovers a lesser-known aspect of The Black Panther Party’s broader struggle for social justice: health care. Nelson argues that the Party’s focus on health care was practical and ideological and that their understanding of health as a basic human right and its engagement with the social implications of genetics anticipated current debates about the politics of health and race.
"In Body and Soul, Alondra Nelson combines careful research, deep political insight, and passionate commitment to tell the little-known story of the Black Panther Party's health activism in the late 1960s. In doing so, and in showing how the problems of poverty, discrimination, and access to medical care remain hauntingly similar more than forty years later, Nelson reminds us that the struggle continues, particularly for African Americans, and that social policies have profound moral implications."
—Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
"This book is a revelation. Alondra Nelson uncovers two remarkable histories in Body and Soul. First, she provides the deep context for our current conversation about the health disparities that plague the African-American community and that are, as she puts it, ‘quite literally sickening.’ Second, she adds immeasurably to our knowledge of the Black Panther Party, complicating its commonplace designation as a radical, militant organization to unearth its dedication and hard work in advocating for and providing equal and quality health care for even the most underserved African Americans. Nelson is the first scholar I know of to bring these two histories into dialogue with each other, and she does so with spectacular results. This is a tremendously important book."
—Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard University