African-American history has played an integral role in the shaping of politics, economics, and culture in the United States. Growing up, how did you learn about the accomplishments and struggles of African Americans? Were you in a classroom? Reading a book? Talking with relatives or friends? How has your understanding or knowledge of African-American history changed and/or developed over time? What do you think is the most effective way to pass along this rich and growing history to future generations?

Shawn Gilstrap

My introduction to the Civil Rights was in 1970, I was 5 years old, I was living in New Haven, Connecticut. My mother was actively involved in the Black Panther movement. She would take my brother and I to rallies and Panther meetings. There was always was alot of enthusiasm at these rallies. My mother went to prison in 1970 and me and my brother became wards of the court of New Haven, Connecticut. My mother was released from prison and relocated to Baltimore where she passed away in 1974. I am 48 years old now and I just recently discovered that in 1970 Bobby Seal was arrested and fasley charge with murder and was locked up in New Haven, Connecticut. My mother gave me a birds eye view of the struggle.