• Michael Edward Stevens, ex-participant of the Black Panther Party, at the Margaretha-Rothe-school

Michael Edward Stevens, born on 11th of November 1946, is an ex-participant of the Black Panther Party. Our English class (S4/Letzel) had the great opportunity to hear him talk about his extraordinary past on the 9th of January at the Margaretha-Rothe-School. Steven, who lives in Germany by now, was originally born and raised in New York, where he joined the Black Panther Party when he was about 19 years old. He was a revolutionary, who even had to go to jail for 16 months for committing political arson. His actions during the Civil Rights Movement are so interesting for us because it is our current topic in English lesson. Many of us are also going to write their final exams about this specific topic.That is why we were all equally as excited as the students from the hosting school, when Steven entered their auditorium to talk to us. All students cheered really loud and Steven got genuinely excited by how many students came to listen to him. He was charismatic and seemed really authentic while talking to us. It was so interesting to hear about the things he did during his time as a revolutionary. We were also really surprised by some answers he gave about political questions.

Stevens had some drastic opinions about the current situation in the United States and told us straight forward, that he doesn’t see any development in the countries relations between Whites and Blacks. He talked about his hopelessness when it comes to curing racism and answered a question about it this way: „I just don’t know how. Do you know how we could do it?“ He also condemned Donald Trump and his political actions. Besides his political views, the talk was also very worthwhile because of the insides Stevens could give us. He answered every question about his life and view on things, while keeping him and his believes authentic. Some of us disagreed with him, while others could understand his point of view. Nevertheless all of us really appreciated this man, who talked so openly to us about his life and experiences. Until then, it wasn’t that easy for us to imagine and understand the occurrences within the Civil Rights Movement and the view of participants by now.

Stevens told us his story in his own certain way. Even though he lost his thread a couple of times he tried to point out his positions as clearly as possible. His story as a black man and participant of the Black Panther Party really touched us and we for sure have now a better understanding when it comes to questioning humans decisions. Especially when it comes to racism. We hope that one day we are able to come back to Stevens and tell him that we proudly have cured the disease of racism.