A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement

Lunchtime talk with author Kent Blansett



Thursday, November 21, 2019 12:00PM

<em>A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement</em>
<small><p>Lunchtime talk with author Kent Blansett</p></small>
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Please reserve prior to the event. Our lunchtime space has a limited capacity of 30

Where: California Historical Society Headquarters, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Cost: Free admission, must register in advance to secure seating.

Join CHS for a lunchtime talk with author Kent Blansett about his book, A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement. The talk will be one hour and will include time for questions followed by a book signing.

About the Book:

A revealing portrait of Richard Oakes, the brilliant, charismatic Native American leader who was instrumental in the takeovers of Alcatraz, Fort Lawton, and Pit River and whose assassination in 1972 galvanized the Trail of Broken Treaties march on Washington, DC. The life of this pivotal Akwesasne Mohawk activist is explored in an important new biography based on extensive archival research and key interviews with activists and family members.

Historian Kent Blansett offers a transformative and new perspective on the Red Power movement of the turbulent 1960s and the dynamic figure who helped to organize and champion it, telling the full story of Oakes’s life, his fight for Native American self-determination, and his tragic, untimely death. This invaluable history chronicles the mid-twentieth century rise of Intertribalism, Indian Cities, and a national political awakening that continues to shape Indigenous politics and activism to this day.

About the Author

Kent Blansett is an Associate Professor of History and Native American Studies at University of Nebraska at Omaha and he is a descendant of five Tribes: Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee, and Potawatomi. His new book is entitled A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement which was published by Yale University Press. His book is the first biography of Akwesasne Mohawk leader Richard Oakes, who played a major role in the infamous 1969 takeover of Alcatraz Island by the organization Indians of All Tribes (IAT). Beyond Alcatraz, Oakes’s leadership was instrumental in the Pit River, Clear Lake, Elem, Wintu, Kashaya, and Fort Lawton liberation struggles. His assassination in 1972 sparked the Trail of Broken Treaties march on Washington. A Journey to Freedom is the culmination of 18 years of archival research from New York to California as well as a number of interviews with veteran activists and family members. His book also explores the larger urban Indian experience throughout the Bay Area and investigates the origins of Native Nationalism and the Red Power movement.