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In this nuanced and groundbreaking history, Murch explores how black southern migrants formed the Black Panther Party (BPP) during an era of expansion and political struggle in California's system of public higher education. The BPP started with a study group, she argues. In the face of social crisis and police violence, the most disfranchised sectors of the East Bay's African American community--young, poor, and migrant--challenged the legitimacy of state authorities and of an older generation of black leadership.