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Steve McCutchen


Professor Steve McCutchen

Steve, whose pen name is Lil’ Masai, was an early member of the Baltimore Chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), which he joined in 1968. He was also assigned to Philadelphia, New York, and New Haven during those early years. In 1972, Steve arrived in Oakland along with other Party members from chapters around the country. In 1973, he was assigned to the Intercommunal Youth Institute, later renamed the Oakland Community School, where he taught math and physical education. In 1974, Steve launched the Martial Arts program for youth and adults housed at the Oakland Community Learning Center.

After the BPP, Steve taught math and Ethnic Studies with the Oakland Unified School District. He is an accomplished spoken word performer, having been a member of the Oakland Writers Guild and International Black Writers & Artists, Bay Area collective. In 2008, his book, We Were Free For A While: Back to Back in the Black Panther Party, was published. Steve was a member of the Black Organizing Project based in Oakland and Contra Costa counties and was instrumental in helping the organization remove armed police from schools in the Oakland Unified School District. He now stands alongside former BPP members and community activists as part of the BPP Alumni Legacy Network.