History Slam Episode Twenty-Six: The Black Panthers in Saskatchewan

By Sean Graham

I often say that Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan is one of my favourite cities in the country – in part because of the way it has capitalized on Al Capone and the possibility that the legendary Chicago gangster conducted business in the city in the 1920s and 1930s. This is perhaps best exemplified at the Moose Jaw tunnels tour that takes visitors through a day in the life of a bootlegger.

But this is not the only connection between Chicago and Saskatchewan. Only weeks before his death, famed Black Panther Fred Hampton gave a speech at the Regina Campus of the University of Saskatchewan – now the University of Regina. The visit was met by mixed emotions in the community and highlighted the commonalities between the civil rights struggles of African Americans in the United States and First Nations in Canada.

In this episode of the History Slam podcast, I talk with Dawn Flood of Campion College at the University of Regina about Fred Hampton and his visit to Saskatchewan. We chat about racial discrimination in Chicago, the reputation of the Black Panthers, the reason for coming to Saskatchewan, and Fred Hampton’s death. An expert on Chicago’s history, Professor Flood is the author of Rape in Chicago: Race, Myth, and the Courts.

Sean Graham is a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa where he is currently working on a project that examines the early years of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He has previously studied at Nipissing University, the University of the West Indies, and the University of Regina and like any red-blooded Canadian his ultimate dream is to be a curling champion while living on a diet of beer and poutine.

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