A New Voice for Black History: Xavier Buck, PhD

Xavier Buck

In this episode of the Matrix Podcast, Julia Sizek interviews Xavier Buck, Deputy Director of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, a nonprofit that has preserved and promoted the legacy of the Black Panther Party for over 25 years.

Buck graduated with a PhD in History from UC Berkeley in 2021. His work blends organizing and educational pursuits in the service of sustaining movements for Black lives, and he has previously been a fellow at Prosperity Now, the Education Trust – West, and the Digital Equity Initiative at the City & County of San Francisco.

The discussion focuses on Buck’s work in public history, including his @historyin3 channel (which can be found on TikTok and Instagram), his current work at the Huey P. Newton Foundation, and his dissertation research, which shows how Black experiences in Louisiana from 1927 to 1945 were integral to Black political organizing, cooperative economics, and government partnerships in California from 1945 to 1975.

Produced by the University of California, Berkeley’s Social Science Matrix, the Matrix Podcast features interviews with scholars from across the UC Berkeley campus. Stream the episode above, or listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.


About Xavier Buck

Dr. Xavier Buck is the Deputy Director of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, a nonprofit that has preserved and promoted the legacy of the Black Panther Party for over 25 years. Prior to joining the Foundation, Buck was a fellow at Prosperity Now, the Education Trust – West, and the Digital Equity Initiative at the City & County of San Francisco, where he conducted research on racial equity gaps, wrote policy, and designed innovative programs for building black and brown wealth. Encouraged by the impact he made through these fellowships, he started Xavier Buck Research Ventures, LLC to continue supporting nonprofits, policy companies, and government agencies to advance black economic growth through data-driven research. At the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, he directs public art installations, manages public-private partnerships, leads strategic planning, designs curriculum, among many other things.

Dr. Buck earned his B.A. in history from St. John’s University (Queens) and his Ph.D. in history from the University of California Berkeley. As an undergraduate, he led the largest student movement in the history of the university which led to the hiring of more faculty of color and a chief diversity officer, the establishment of an inclusivity counseling center, the introduction of a required course on microaggressions, and a legacy of strong black and brown leadership. Buck has always believed that what we learn in the classroom is applicable to sustaining movements for black lives and continues to blend his organizing and educational pursuits.

Podcast Transcript


Woman’s Voice: The Matrix Podcast is a production of Social Science Matrix, an interdisciplinary research center at the University of California, Berkeley.

Julia Sizek: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Social Science Matrix Podcast. I’m Julia Sizek, your host. Today, we’re excited to have Xavier Buck on the podcast. Xavier recently completed his PhD in history and his dissertation revealed the connections between Black Lives in Louisiana and California from 1940 to 1970.

Today, he is deputy director of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, a nonprofit that has preserved and promoted the legacy of the Black Panther Party for over 25 years. Xavier also runs a Black history channel called History in 3, which can be found on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

Yeah, so let’s talk a little bit about your History in 3 channel. One of the things that you do is you tell hidden histories or I would say histories that people don’t know about Black people in the American West and really across America. And you give some context for contemporary events.

And so one of the things that I found really interesting when I was looking at your channel is how to think about the protest after the murder of George Floyd last summer and particularly, how to think about the language of rioting and destruction during the protests.

There’s this debate about whether to call protests riots or to call them protests. But that’s also a very racialized language to call protest by White people protest and protest by Black people riots. So can you just tell us a little more about how you think about this particular and very contemporary topic?

Xavier Buck: It takes a lot of groundwork to just make this argument, but I find that there’s continuity between slave uprisings, between people defending themselves in Jim Crow south with armed defense to the Watts Uprising in ’65 to protest today. I view all of these things as self-defence movements or movements for Black liberation.

And there’s a lot of continuity between the Watts Uprising and the protests today. One thing you brought up, you said, well, when Black people disrupt, it’s a riot and when White people disrupt it’s called something else. And I think today what’s really interesting is that a lot of the recent protests after George Floyd were mostly White people, but because they were for Black lives, they were still called riots.

That’s why it’s called the Watts Riots in ’65. But a lot of Black scholars have put forth as the Watts Uprising in 1965 to change that language around because it wasn’t just chaos or people just destroying things. It was rebellion. It was self-defense. It was a movement for black liberation.

And how I see the Watts Uprising is that you have funneled all these Black people into this area. There were for public housing buildings in that area. And they were centers for Black life, but they also very quickly became dilapidated because the federal government pulled funding from them.

And so you had all these people that just came from the south and went through Jim Crow, had seen lynchings, had escaped death, had been grossly exploited with of their labor, and all of a sudden, now they’re densely packed into poor housing in California, which is supposed to be the final frontier. It’s supposed to be where freedom is. There’s nowhere to go from there.

So to witness violence from the police once again, to witness poor housing once again, to not have options to really get that freedom because of redlining, segregation, and because of job discrimination once again, it just didn’t really match. It doesn’t match the word riot. It matches the word uprising. And so the Watts Uprising in 1965 was just that, people were fighting back.

Now, I want to draw the connection to today. We often complain about the businesses or the buildings being torn down, usually in these downtown areas or whatever the shopping districts are. And to an extent I can sympathize with business owners because nobody wants their business torn down at all.

But I think what you saw in the Watts Uprising is that you had to destroy what was there because it wasn’t Black-owned yet it was all Black neighborhood. And the powers were preventing it from being black-controlled. So the Watts Uprising burned down Watts in Willowbrook in Compton areas in South Central.

But they also built so much, so many businesses, so many art movements. They brought Cal State, Dominguez Hills nearby. They built Locke High School. They built the Martin Luther King Medical Center. They built Charles Drew Medical School and several medical clinics. They built so much and there was the Black community that controlled it. So they had to burn down that section.

And so today, when I see uprisings in this contemporary moment after George Floyd, it’s like, whoa, look at these downtown areas. How did they get built. And I’ll talk about the Bay Area. I’ll talk about Oakland as an example. You have West Oakland, you have downtown Oakland.

West Oakland, its infrastructure was really hardened when that freeway was built separating West Oakland from Downtown Oakland. So one of the most underused freeways in the nation. And it’s this freeway that just separated the Black people from the Downtown business interests mostly white-controlled.

And so it’s like at the same time that they segregated Black folk, made sure they couldn’t get business loans, or get home loans to improve their properties, or to purchase property, or to expand their business, they subsidize white business interests downtown right next door. And so it’s like we see these skylines going up. And this is in the ’80s, right after the black power era is dwindling.

So in the ’80s, the response to the black power era is let’s build these downtown skylines. Whether that’s Oakland or San Francisco, it’s the same thing. And so it’s like these are literally odes. These downtown areas are literally odes to capitalism, odes to White business interests, odes to white-controlled infrastructure.

And so once again, I can sympathize. I would never want my business torn down, but I can’t pretend like tearing down these odes to capitalism could not lead to black or minority controlled downtown areas, which could then lead to economic prosperity. And so for me, that’s where I see these two things tied together, where you have the Watts Uprising, where you tear down things and then you build it up, but it has different people in power.

It’s the same thing with today. It’s like, well, if you’re tearing down these things, let’s figure out who can be in power. Let’s figure out how to funnel the money into the people that have been living here for generations, that have been holding on to Oakland even when Oakland didn’t take care of them. And so I think there’s something to it. And I think it’s worth drawing the connections between the two eras.

Sizek: Yeah, that’s really helpful and very interesting. And I really appreciate your ability to connect across these different, what people might see as disparate, eras. And one of the things that I think that your TikTok does a really good job of is also featuring Black people who have been building up cities historically.

And one of those stories that I really appreciated and I would love to hear more about from you is the story of Biddy Mason, who is a prominent citizen of Los Angeles, who was actually born a slave in Mississippi prior to when she emigrated and was able to get herself out of slavery when she was in California. Can you just tell us a little bit more about her story and why you decided to feature it on the TikTok?

Buck: Yeah, I mean, Biddy Mason is basically– she’s the grandmother of LA. Biddy Mason, she was a slave, my understanding was in Mississippi. Her owner was Mormon and so they moved to Utah. And at that time, there was a bunch of Mormons that were moving from Utah to the San Bernardino area right outside LA or just east of LA.

But slavery wasn’t legal in California, not on law. And so they brought their slaves. But on the way there, basically Biddy Mason ran into a bunch of Black people on the way. And sometimes this is hard to imagine because we think about slavery is like you have no way to communicate, or any agency, or anything like that.

Yes, she was enslaved, but she found ways to communicate with other Black folk on the way to California from Utah. And so they basically told her they were like, hey, when you get to California sue for your freedom. Slavery is not legal there. So by the time she got there that’s what she does.

And from my understanding, she got in contact with some other Black folk down in LA and ended up suing for her freedom in a court in Santa Monica. Don’t quote me on it, but that’s what I think I remember. But she sues for her freedom. And it’s just one of those strange rags to riches stories because she’s cleaning people’s homes and doing other work for them. And before you know it, she’s really saving her money.

She all of a sudden, she has connections with the Afro-Mexicans that founded the Pueblo of Los Angeles, the most famous one being Pio Pico. Half the founders of LA were Afro-Mexican. And so she ends up becoming fluent in Spanish. She’s had all of their parties And these are the people that have lots of money, still have money even though it’s American soil now.

And so she’s connecting with them. And before you know it, she’s buying tracts of land in Downtown LA. And it’s funny because you would never know today. I mean, there’s a small I guess you would call it a monument. It’s not a mural, but it’s on a wall that is dedicated to her. It tells a little bit of this history, but it’s like these giant buildings, important corporate and federal buildings that are sitting on the land that she originally purchased.

And it basically became the first Black neighborhood in LA because as former slaves or just Blacks from the South or from other places were moving to LA basically the first person they went to was biddy Mason.

And she basically built tract houses on her land and started housing people and started selling it off. And then she used that money to start the first Black church in LA, first AME Church. So, I mean it’s one of those stories that surprises you in the 1850s and ’70s. And it’s extraordinary and I think it’s undertold. I didn’t know it until really I got to grad school. And I’m from LA. And so I just had to tell that information.

Sizek: Yeah, what were some of the other stories that you featured that you were surprised to know or learn about and felt like needed to be out in the public?

Buck: The story of Velma Grant, which is to be continued because I don’t the end of that story yet. But what I do know, the neighborhood where my grandmother bought her house, where my grandparents bought their house, which is just south of Watts, southwest of Watts in a neighborhood called Willowbrook.

This Black woman in the mid-1940s, she got a loan from Bank of America for about $2 million. This is a time when women couldn’t get credit. Yeah, right. This is the time when women couldn’t get credit and Black people couldn’t get loans.

So somehow this Black woman who a real estate agent, got a $2 million loan from Bank of America and built all this housing specifically for the Black middle class in LA and literally sold them within days, all 40 houses within days, then kept building. And then she went and did the same thing in San Bernardino.

And then the history gets blurry because she basically falls off the map. We don’t know what happened to her. I’ve heard some speculation from local historians in LA, but nobody really knows what happened to her. But yet she created the first housing in LA for the black middle class and was a Black woman. Who got this big old loan from a bank, Bank of America?

And it was just a very strange story that surprised me and I would have never known it. The person that designed her homes was Paul Williams, which is probably the most famous Black, not probably, is the most famous Black architect in history and American history and at that time he was one of the top architects in general of his time.

And so he designed her houses. And so he has a website that talks about the history of all of his houses. And so it was in my grandma’s neighborhood, one of the houses he designed there called the Carver manners after at that time, the late George Washington Carver. And they designed specifically for Black people. And I would never known about it unless it was on that website, about her at all.

Sizek: Actually, in some ways, this seems like this topic of this housing is also related to your dissertation, which is about the second Great Migration and specifically how Black people from Louisiana came to California and brought their own know-how from being in Louisiana and transported it into California. Can you tell us just a little bit more about what your dissertation is about and how you became interested in this subject?

Buck: Yeah, my dissertation is about ordinary people who are living in Louisiana. And I start in the late ’20s with the Great Flood of 1927 through the Great Depression up until the World War II era. And that’s in Louisiana. It’s about ordinary people from Louisiana, Black people, mostly rural, and there are politics, especially as it relates to how government is supposed to work.

What do they see as the role of government? How capitalist is it? How socialist is it? Is this a gray area in between? So it’s about the relation to government. It’s about the institutions they build to gain economic independence, and overall, their political strategies.

And these ordinary Black people from Louisiana. The greatest number of Black people who moved to California came from Louisiana and the area surrounding its borders. And so all of these people came to California and once again, came with their politics, but then were introduced to a different state that had some similarities and some differences.

But basically what I do is draw a genealogy between Black politics in Louisiana and California, not necessarily as a one way ticket into how politics work in California, but more so in how these two places exchange dialogue across kinship networks, across social institutions, across political institutions.

And then really doing that to try to understand, well, where did these ideas that sprouted that seem to have just sprouted up in the black power era, what is the continuity between the deep south and the West Coast? What is the continuity between black politics in Louisiana and California, specifically as it relates to black power politics?

Sizek: Yeah, so can you help us by just describing an example of this? What would be an example of a political or economic strategy that moved between these two places?

Buck: One thing that happens in Louisiana, especially around the Shreveport area, there’s an oil boom. And all kinds of people have oil on their land. There’s Blacks that had a lot of land down in Louisiana.

But because there was an oil boom and Whites wanted to control that industry, they basically killed and pushed a bunch of Black people off their land stealing their oil, millions of dollars worth of money and millions of dollars worth of resources.

And a lot of these people– there’s so many stories that I heard when I was doing my oral histories of because Black people were getting pushed off their land or trying to get killed in the middle of the night, Black folk that killed a police officer or killed a White person that was trying to attack them, defending themselves, and then fleeing to California.

Just as a second instinct they knew they were going to go to California next, because, one, that was the final frontier of freedom and because they probably had family there. But it’s this dispossession of land that I think was a major thread in Black politics in California. Now, LA by the ’50s has the highest Black homeownership rate in the country.

Sizek: Wow.

Buck: Right, yeah. And so people always compare that to the Watts Uprising in ’65. Well, how did that happen then? So in the ’50s you have the highest homeownership rate, but then ’65, you got black people burning down the city. So how do we make connections? What I see it is that, yeah, there was a solid black middle class.

But the majority of people who were moving to LA, especially in the ’60s, so the population that moved there in the ’50s literally would make up half of the Black population in LA. Then, again, in the ’60S the amount of people that moved to LA, Black people that moved to LA in the ’60s would then, again, make up another half of the Black population. That’s how fast they’re growing.

And when I talk about this urgency of Black people being dispossessed of their land and immediately moving into public housing project in Watts, Willowbrook. So you just lost your land. The ultimate idea of economic independence is that you’ll have your 40 acres and a mule or at least a home with a front yard in a decent neighborhood, something to call your own. But instead you force people into dilapidated public housing.

So to me, that is the antithesis of economic liberation. And I think there is a connection between being dispossessed of your land in Louisiana and not giving the opportunity to even own land in California. Majority people, I’m talking about people that are just within five to six years are experiencing this back to back.

And I think that’s what makes it worth it to destroy Watts in ’65, just like if they could have in mass. These are rural areas in mass. If they were in dense area like LA and Louisiana, I think they would have burned it down as well. It’d have been a lot more repercussions than what happen in California.

But I think because all of these Black people that were once in rural areas who were dispossessed of their land get condensed in this very dense public housing, all these four projects within a mile or two of each other. I think it becomes worth it to destroy this area so that it can finally be Black-controlled and so that they can have ownership over the land.

Sizek: Yeah, and as you note, a lot of people are coming from really rural areas to really urban areas. Were there any examples that you found, a continuity where a rural institution would get transported into an urban area?

Buck: Yeah, I mean, the obvious ones are church denominations. Say if you were a Baptist or Methodist in Louisiana, which are the two most popular ones, most likely to be Baptist and Methodist when you get to LA, there’s organizations.

If you participate in the NAACP or if you were in New Orleans, moved to LA, the United Negro Improvement Association, which was Marcus Garvey organization, the Urban League, also the Masonic lodges, and the Eastern Star lodges, they were very popular in Louisiana, very strong. And they proliferated in Los Angeles as well around the same time, the migration.

But I think most important, you can talk about the institutions that are physical, that have places. But most importantly, it’s the kinship networks. These are family. Whether a real or fictive kin, these people are connected.

And at one time people were hundreds of miles from each other or if not that far, far enough from each other, spread out across the south. And now they’re all in one location spreading information very quickly. So when we think about organizing strategies, these are people who are very well-organized in the deep south, in rural areas. Bring them to a city and see how fast they move.

In the areas that I’m talking about in my dissertation, mostly what’s Willowbrook and Compton, basically, these Black people organize government resources faster than the White constituents ever did that preceded them. And they improve their communities so fast, so fast. And they’re really able to mobilize millions worth of state and federal resources into their small communities. And I think it’s underappreciated how well organized they were, whether or not they were part of an organization or not.

Sizek: And so you mentioned that they were improving their communities. So were they getting– what are examples of doing those sorts of community improvements? Are they getting grants for housing? Are they making neighborhood associations? What are examples of those sorts of community improvement projects?

Buck: Yeah, well, the areas they were able to move to weren’t always the best areas. So you had a lot of places that didn’t have sidewalks, that still had dirt roads. So they got the streets paved. They got streetlights put up. They got bus lines installed. They got libraries established. They got schools erected.

They fought for public housing because we’re supposed to be a good thing. It was wartime housing and there was very little for Black people. And so because they were crowded downtown in Little Tokyo, basically they fought for public housing. And so public housing, on top of that, regular single family homes, that kind of stuff.

Things people need to– health care institutions, medical clinics– things people need to live life. And not even enjoy it, just the basic necessities that weren’t there when white residents were there. And Black people moved there on mass and government resources moved very quickly.

Sizek: So you mentioned that you did some oral histories as you were conducting your dissertation research. What were the other– did you use archives? How did you find out everything that you wrote about for your dissertation?

Buck: Yeah, I spent a lot of time in archives in Louisiana. From Shreveport to New Orleans I went to almost every single one and just looked for any hint of Black history in the 20th century. And that was very difficult because in the south I was just– no, let me be specific.

In Louisiana, there’s a lot of stuff on Black people when they were slaves. There’s very little documented under Jim Crow. And that’s partly because Black people weren’t trying to be found out during Jim Crow. A lot of their movements and organizations were clandestine. So that’s the part of the reason is because Black people didn’t record on purpose. The other reason is that these archives, until very recently, never really valued any type of Black history from the 20th century because it’s “too political,” quote, unquote.

I mean, I went to archives in Shreveport and the archivist– I never experienced anything like this. The archivist literally gave me some of their archives. They said they were just going to throw it away. There’s some newspapers and they said they were just going to throw it away. So they just gave it to me. They said I might want this.

I’ve never been to an archive, but that has happened. So when you ask me about my sources, newspapers, government documents, a lot of people’s personal papers, especially university administrators or politicians.

I actually to track kinship networks and where people are migrating when they were still in the south. And then on to California, I used a lot of obituaries because they always name where all of your kin is currently living in an obituary. So actually look through hundreds of obituaries. What else?

There were a lot of oral histories down at LSU in Baton Rouge from civil rights movement era. And then in LA, same documents, government records, oral histories, newspapers. And then I did my own set of oral histories.

This story that I’m telling, it started even before I started my PhD program. It was really like a family history project. That’s what got me interested in it. A lot of stuff. I’m talking about the same thing my family went through. And so the church that I grew up in or the people I grew up around, similar stories. And so all these people I was already connected to and able to interview immediately.

Sizek: Yeah, that’s amazing. And it’s also great that you’re able to piece together what is an incredibly complex historical narrative that comes from these two places that are very much historically connected, but often that people don’t think of together. I don’t think there are a lot of historians who are working between Louisiana and California.

Buck: No, I don’t know any.

Sizek: I guess it’s just you, which is why it’s so important to do this work. And so I guess transitioning toward what you’re working on now, you’re working for the Huey P. Newton foundation, which is here in Oakland. And it’s an organization that seeks to preserve and spread the ideas and legacy of the Black Panther Party. So can you just tell us a little bit more about that organization and how you became involved with them so that you’re now working for them?

Buck: Well, first thing, Huey Newton is from Monroe, Louisiana. So there was a connection there too with the dissertation. He’s in there. But how I got involved with them? Honestly, they’ve been around since 1993 and have had their highs and the lows and they were starting to build up again.

And Fredrika Newton, which was– she was a former panther. She was a nurse for 30 years with Kaiser. And she’s also Huey’s widow. She’s been the president of the foundation. She took it over after from David Hilliard. And she was looking to do some more work, figure out new ways of preserving the history of the Black Panther Party, especially using public art.

And she had a team of volunteers and they put out a job description. And I saw it and I just applied like a regular person. And they put me through three rounds of interviews and a brainstorming session. And then finally, they hired me as their deputy director, which at that time was still just a volunteer position.

And I thought I was going to have a team because there was a team of volunteers who interviewed me. I thought I was going to have a team, but as soon as I got on, they actually all went off and continued what they were doing with their own personal lives. They were all– a lot of them were in tech, very busy, had jobs to attend to tend to.

And so from there it was just me and Fredrika. And then we started building the team. And we started making, building relationships up again and figuring out really what we wanted to do and at the rest was history. That was a little over two years ago.

Sizek: And so some of the projects that the foundation is working on is both a project of putting up a bust of Huey in West Oakland, as well as trying to establish a Black Panther National Park historic site. Can you just tell us a little bit about these initiatives and their status and what you all are hoping to do?

Buck: So in February 2021, we unveiled Huey P. Newton way. Huey was killed on 9th and center in West Oakland. And so now 9th Street is Huey P. Newton Way between Mandela Parkway and Peralta. So that happened in February.

And then October 24, 2021, we will unveil a bronze bust of Huey Newton done by sculptor Dana King. And that was a really beautiful project because they brought in so many experts to help with it.

I mean, Fredrika was literally filling the molds face and using muscle memory to remember what Huey’s face felt like to help the artists make sure it was right. It was just a very personal and beautiful project for her. And so we’re really excited to unveil that on October 24.

Some of the other things that we’re doing, we have a larger Black Panther Party art installation, that we’re working with the City of Oakland to place in front of Alameda County Court, which was the site of the Free Huey movement. And this area, it’s around Lake Merritt. And this is where the Free Huey movement was.

There were a lot of Black events that happened at the Kaiser Center. And then 1200 Lakeshore is where Huey’s old penthouse was. So that whole area on that side of Lake Merritt is significant. And so we’re putting this larger, we’re hoping to put this larger Black Panther Party art installation that really tells the history of their survival programs like free breakfast and sickle cell research and free medical clinics in the community school.

And we want to talk about the survival programs. And we also really want to emphasize the women in the party who by the late ’60s made up the majority of the party, but often get overlooked. And so those are the two main stories that we want to tell with this monument.

So we have the bronze bust of Huey that’s going in West Oakland and then the larger art installation that’s going in the center of Oakland, right. We imagine it as the centerpiece of Oakland. For so many people around the world, Oakland is synonymous with the Black Panther Party and we want to make sure that piece of art tells that history.

Some of the other work that we’re doing, as you mentioned, we are working with the National Park Service to designate several sites as historic landmarks that are relevant to the Black Panther Party’s history to create a national park unit, which would include a visitor center or you could think of it as a museum run by national park staff, similar to Rosie the Riveter and Richmond.

And so that’s a huge project. That one’s going to take much longer, but we’re hoping that we have the political will with the current president and the people and Congresswoman Barbara Lee and the council members of the City of Oakland, as well as the resolutions we’ve gotten from cities of Richmond and San Francisco and Berkeley and Sacramento.

We’re hoping we have the political will to really push this through. We definitely have some allies with the National Park Service that are helping us out with this. But yeah, that’s the next of four to five years. We’re hoping to have this national park unit established.

Some of the other work that we’re doing, we’re digitizing all the Black Panther Party newspapers. I’m hoping that UC Berkeley will be involved with that and UC Berkeley libraries. We’re digitizing all the newspapers and a plethora of other projects, but those are the main ones.

Sizek: Yeah so, I mean, one thing that’s really interesting is that your work for the foundation is very much working on public history and these questions of memorialization. And I was just curious if there are ways that you find that your academic background and knowledge about history has informed your approach for thinking about these projects of memorialization, telling a historical narrative and putting in these large art installations.

Buck: Absolutely. I did my PhD originally to be a history professor. That’s what I wanted. By the time I finished, I really didn’t have that desire anymore and I never could imagine I’d be doing this work with the Huey Newton Foundation.

But I use my degree every single day in the things that I write, in the conversations that we have, and as you said, just thinking about how public art and history can work. I mean, I’m coming in contact with the people who lived this history.

All these people are still here. So it’s like I’m just working and living history and I love it. I love it. But my PhD in history has definitely informed the work I’m doing and it’s been extremely beneficial to me.

Sizek: I mean, it’s amazing to be able to work in this living history and to also be creating these archives that will help future historians. Exactly the kinds of archives where you had to, in your own research, really be digging around in the corners and the edges of the archives to try to locate the history that you needed in order to understand these connections between Louisiana and California. So I’m so glad that you’re able to actually create these archives now and to do that work for future historians.

Buck: Yeah, it’s dope. That’s all I got to say.


Sizek: Well, yeah, this has been great. I think we can wrap up here. Yeah, I’ve really appreciated this. It’s been phenomenal and I’ve loved hearing about your work.

Buck: All right, awesome, Julia, Thank you for putting me on the interview.

Woman’s Voice: Thank you for listening. To learn more about Social Science Matrix, please visit matrix.berkeley.edu.




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Published September 2, 2021

Matrix Podcast: The Past and Present of Teletherapy

In this episode of the Social Science Matrix podcast, Julia Sizek, a Phd candidate in the UC Berkeley Department of Anthropology, interviews scholars Hannah Zeavin and Valerie Black, UC Berkeley researchers who study the history and present of teletherapy, which describes all forms of remote therapy, from letter-writing to chatbots.

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