The story of the Black Panther Party is usually told from a national perspective. We talk about its founders, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, or more recently famous notables like Fred Hampton. Our speakers will discuss how the forces of injustice shaped the emergence of the Black Panther Party in the Heartland of the United States. The emergence of the Des Moines chapter of the Black Panther Party, a regional formation of the Heartland chapters along with Omaha and Kansas City, demonstrated that the African American youth of the Midwest were moving with the spirit of the times--a time of global unrest, revolution and ideas about new possibilities of re-organizing society that still have impact today. Join Andrew Rollins, former member of the Kansas City Chapter, and scholar Reynaldo Anderson as they share their insights on the Des Moines chapter of the Black Panther Party, the significance of what the youth of the time called "The Black Revolution," and its implications and lessons for us today.
Dr. Reynaldo Anderson, is a Communication Studies and Africana Studies scholar, currently serves as Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Harris-Stowe State University in Saint Louis, Missouri. Reynaldo is currently the Executive Director and co-founder of the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM), an international network of artists, intellectuals, creatives, and activists. He is the co-editor of the following anthologies and journals, Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness and The Black Speculative Arts Movement: Black Futurity, Art+Design (Lexington Books, 2015, 2019), Cosmic Underground: A Grimoire of Black Speculative Discontent (Cedar Grove Publishing, 2018), Black Lives, Black Politics, Black Futures, a special issue of TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies (2018), and When is Wakanda: Afrofuturism and Dark Speculative Futurity (The Journal of Futures Studies, 2019). He is also the author of numerous articles on Africana Studies and Communication studies and helped conceive the joint BSAM and NY LIVE Arts Curating the End of the World online exhibitions (2020-2021). Reynaldo is the co-editor of The Lovecraft Country Reader, forthcoming in 2021. He has presented papers in areas of communications, Africana studies, Afrofuturism, and critical theory in the US and abroad.
The Reverend Andrew Rollins is a native of Kansas City, Kansas. He attended Kansas State University; University of Missouri in Kansas City and matriculated at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, where he majored in political science and philosophy, with a focus of study in political theory and metaphysics. He has also been committed over the years to religious studies. Rev. Rollins answered the call to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the year 1980.
Upon completion of the Ministerial Training administered by the Board of Examiners of the A.M.E. Church, Rev. Rollins was ordained an Itinerant Elder in 1986. The Ministerial Training curriculum included Biblical studies; theology; church history; polity; homiletics; pastoral care and church administration. Rev. Rollins has served as a pastor throughout the Fifth Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church, specifically in the states of Missouri, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and California. On November 1, 2016, Bishop Clement W. Fugh appointed him to Ward Chapel A.M.E. Church, Junction City, Kansas where he currently serves as pastor.
Rev. Rollins has a holistic philosophy of ministry. His philosophy of ministry is a combination of Liberation Theology and Charismatic Theology. He believes that a pastor should be involved in the community and take a stand on social justice issues. In keeping with this approach, while pastoring at Quinn Chapel, Lincoln Nebraska, he served as a member of the Police Advisory Board of the City of Lincoln; while pastor at St. Mark, Topeka, Kansas, he served as a member of the Riverfront Development Task Force of Topeka. Also, while serving as pastor of St. James A.M.E. Church in San Jose, California, Rev. Rollins was an active member of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter of the NAACP and PACT (People Acting in Community Together). Rev. Rollins ministers out of a Full Gospel spiritual orientation which includes healing and deliverance and the free operation of the gifts of the spirit. He knows that the age of miracles has not passed and the church today can operate in the realm of the supernatural as recorded in the Book of Acts. God has anointed Rev. Rollins to lead churches into revivals in which the windows of heaven were opened and the Spirit of God flowed in abundance.
Rev. Rollins is a nationally renowned writer and lecturer. His works have been published in two widely distributed anthologies. He has authored a full chapter in AFROFUTURISM 2.0: THE RISE OF ASTRO BLACKNESS, an anthology. The title of his chapter in this work is “Afrofuturism and Our Old Ship of Zion: The Black Church in Post Modernity”. It is written from a Christian futurist perspective and gives direction to the 21st century church on how to navigate through the complexities of contemporary society. He also has two chapters in the anthology, COSMIC UNDERGROUND: A GRIMOIRE OF BLACK SPECULATIVE DISCONTENT. One chapter is entitled, “The Oddities of Nature”. This essay is about the life, theology and ministry of Bishop Charles Mason, the founder of the Church of God in Christ. The other chapter is entitled “The Harmonics and Modalities of Metaphysical Blackness”. It is an interpretation of Modern Jazz as an expression of Afro-Orientalism. Rev. Rollins has lectured at conferences on futurism and speculative arts, respectively sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley; Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles; Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi; and Harris Stowe State University, St. Louis, Missouri. He has lectured on several topics, including: Transhumanism and the Prophetic Voice of the Black Church; Dark Politics and the Occult; The Ethics of Survival and Black Slave Religion the Roots of Afrofuturism.