How Black Panthers instilled Oakland pride in Roberts' youth


Bip Roberts came of age in Oakland at the same time as the Black Panther Party.

The 12-year MLB veteran and current NBC Sports California analyst was born in Berkeley three years before Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Roberts made his minor league debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1982, the same year the party dissolved and its Oakland Community School closed.

The Panthers advocated militant self-defense for communities of color against the police and federal government, while also organizing free health clinics and breakfast programs for disadvantaged children, among other community initiatives. Roberts said the Panthers instilled a sense of pride in being from Oakland, as well as one of safety and strength.

"It resonated in my home, and it was something we'd talk about in the house," Roberts said as part of NBC Sports Bay Area and California's celebration of Black History Month. "And then when you'd go out into the community, you would see the Black Panthers, and you knew they weren't something to play around with. You knew they were about community. They were about taking care of us, making sure we were safe, especially from the police."

You can learn more about Roberts' upbringing in Oakland by watching the video above.