Black Lives Matter focus of free presentation in Truckee on Jan. 20 |

Black Lives Matter focus of free presentation in Truckee on Jan. 20

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Outstanding professors inspire interesting conversations during Sierra College Insights, a speaker series offered at no cost to the community on select Friday evenings throughout fall and spring semesters.

Dr. Justin Gifford, an associate professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno, will share fascinating stories about Eldridge Cleaver, one of the most controversial and contradictory members of the Black Panther Party, during the Friday, Jan. 20, Sierra College Insights session titled “Black Lives Matter and the Black Panther Party.”

“With the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement, many are looking back to the Black Panther Party as an important political and cultural precedent,” explains Dr. Gifford. “Cleaver was a prisoner, Minister of Information for the Party, political refugee, born again Christian minister, and designer of men’s trousers.” Drawing from Cleaver’s unpublished archives including more than 30,000 pages in novels, letters, speeches, and private writings, Dr. Gifford will provide new insights into the history of the Panthers while offering a broader perspective about the need for Black Lives Matter.

Gifford specializes in American and African American literature and culture, crime fiction, popular culture and cultural studies.

In addition to numerous scholarly papers, he has authored “Pimping Fictions: African American Crime Literature and the Untold Story of Black Pulp Publishing” and “Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim,” a biography that reveals how pimp-turned-writer Robert Beck (a.k.a. Iceberg Slim) became a bestselling novelist who shaped blaxploitation film, gangster rap, and street literature.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Washington, master’s degrees from University of Chicago and University of Virginia where he also earned his doctorate.

“Interesting conversations that frequently extend beyond the classroom have become a hallmark of Sierra College Insights,” shares program organizer Nicole Cheslock, who encourages attendance to the free, fun and fascinating monthly events.

Sierra College Insights takes place on the Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee campus at 11001 College Trail Road in Truckee. The program, including refreshments, is offered at no cost.

Starbucks offers complimentary refreshments preceding each session and the discussions take place from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Space is limited and reservations are highly recommended. Visit

This article was submitted by Sierra College. Visit to learn more.

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