Black Panther paper wins prize


Anthony Gonzales

By Dylan Harris, Contributor

For the first time in its 42-year existence, the Northwest Communication Association awarded an EWU student, Anthony Gonzales, with the Top Undergraduate Paper award at its annual Coeur d’ Alene conference.

Gonzales, a philosophy major and communications minor, is being recognized for his research paper titled, “The World is Listening: Angela Davis and the Rhetoric of Coalition.” Angela Davis is a political activist whose rise to prominence stems from her time as a Black Panther and her involvement in the civil rights movement.

“I was drawn to Angela Davis because I used to live in Oakland and I’m familiar with the political environment there, and I actually used to live right across the street from where the Black Panthers started,” Gonzales said. “I found myself immersed in a historical geographical area, rich in political and radical history.”

The conference brings together students and faculty from schools around the Northwest to present papers and compete for different awards. Three other EWU students had their papers accepted for presentation at this year’s conference.   

Gonzales’ paper is a rhetorical analysis of a speech Angela Davis gave in Oakland, California in 1969. His paper started out as an assignment for his Rhetorical Criticism 450 class.

“It made me really appreciate the role of rhetoric in everything,” Gonzales said. “Rhetoric is the backbone of critiquing anything. You can take those skills into any class.”

The EWU communications department takes undergraduate and graduate students to the conference each year with the hope that some of their papers will be accepted for presentation. Until now, no EWU student had ever won the Top Undergraduate Paper award.  

“I was surprised,” Gonzales said. Just being a regular person you have a lot of self-doubt and a lot of apprehension about submitting something.”

Gonzales is a junior at EWU and plans to go on to graduate school after he earns his bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He says the whole conference was a great experience.

“To hear your name called and knowing that other people read it was really fascinating,” Gonzales said.