Tarika Lewis ’67

Joan Lewis Class of 1967
Joan Lewis
Class of 1967

Tarika Lewis, Class of 1967, is generally recognized as the first woman to officially join the Black Panther Party. At Oakland Tech, Lewis co-founded the Black Student union, which staged sit-ins for Black Studies courses. After high school, she abandoned her plans to become a jazz violinist and joined the BPP. As a Panther, Lewis recalled that her “duty was to open the eyes of the people, to give them hope, courage, understanding; to teach, guide, and pull the cover off what was going on and what should be done about it.”