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A Panther in Africa

When Mar 17, 2005
from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Where Foster Auditorium, 101 Pattee Library
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Artist, Writer, Community Activist, and Co-Director of United African Alliance Community Center (UAACC) based in Tanzania, East Africa

Charlotte Hill O’Neal was born March 9, 1951, in Kansas City, Kansas. At age 17, she became the youngest member of the Kansas City School of Human Dignity and gained much early experience in public speaking doing Black History presentations around the city with that organization at local community centers, churches and schools.

Charlotte became interested in the work of the Black Panther Party after it was established by Brother Pete O’Neal, the founder and Chairman of the Kansas City Chapter of the Black Panther Party, and she became a member at age 18. Shortly afterwards, Pete and Charlotte were married in a special Black Panther ceremony at the Panther national headquarters in Oakland, California.

Pete and Charlotte made the painful decision to leave America in 1970 after Brother Pete fell victim to COINTELPRO and they eventually relocated to Algiers, Algeria the site of the International Section of the Black Panther Party founded by Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver, where they lived and worked for two years.

Their son, Malcolm was born in Algiers in 1971. In 1972 Pete and Charlotte again relocated and came to Tanzania, East Africa where they learned farming, animal husbandry and all kinds of appropriate technologies. Their second child, Ann Wood was born in Arusha, Tanzania, in 1975. They became African American pioneers in their ancestral homeland, and built their homestead on the slopes of Mt. Meru in Imbaseni, a rural village in the heart of the traditional homeland of the Wameru tribe.

In 1991 Pete O’Neal founded the United African American Community Center (UAACC), a non-profit community based NGO, for the purpose of providing programs and projects for the enrichment of the Arusha community, both urban and rural and also to promote closer cultural ties to communities in America, with an emphasis on the African American community. UAACC had a historic name change in 2003 and is now known as the United African Alliance Community Center. UAACC offers classes in many subjects including English, computer studies, building construction architecture, arts, crafts, indigenous knowledge, HIV/AIDS awareness and life skills training, drama and music and a newly established film making class. All the classes are free for Tanzanian citizens and all the teachers are volunteers. Pete O’Neal founded the internationally acclaimed Heal the Community exchange program in 1994.

Charlotte, an artist of many years experience serves as co-director of UAACC.

A Panther in Africa

A Panther in Africa, featured as part of PBS’s “POV” documentary series, is the story of Pete O'Neal, one of the last exiles from the time of Black Power, when young rebels advocated black pride, unity, community service and sometimes, violence. Facing gun charges in Kansas City in 1970, O'Neal and his wife Charlotte, also a Black Panther, fled to Algeria, where they joined other Panther exiles. Unlike the others, however, the O'Neals never found their way back to America. Pete and Charlotte moved on to Tanzania, where for over thirty years they have struggled to continue a life of social activism.

In 1991, Pete and his wife Charlotte founded the United African Alliance Community Center(UAACC) in Tanzania. The organization sponsors an international exchange program for underprivileged American and Tanzanian teenagers. The O'Neals also coordinate study-abroad programs for several U.S. universities, bringing American college students to the UAACC to work alongside young Tanzanians while teaching them English, computer skills and HIV/AIDS awareness.

Charlotte O’Neal is visiting the United States—and Penn State—as part of the work of the UAACC. She will show A Panther in Africa and conduct a discussion session afterwards.