Rev. Dr. Bradford Lilley, 20'

Name of the Speaker:
The Rev. Dr. Bradford Lilley

February 11, 2020

Appalachian State University 

A Black Panther speaks: The 'High Point Four' and Struggles Against Racism and Police Brutality in 1970s North Carolina

As part of the Center's contribution to mark Black History Month, the Rev. Dr. Bradford Lilley (High Point, NC) presented in an overfilled lecture hall on the ASU campus. The speaker joined the Winston-Salem chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), the BPP’s only chapter in the South, in 1970. Founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist party organization Black Panther Party that began with initiatives to protect African American neighborhoods and prevent acts of police brutality. It soon added a range of “survival programs,” including the Free Breakfast for Children Program. Lilley joined the BPP as a Fayetteville State University student. While setting up an office in High Point and starting a Free Breakfast Program in the city, Lilley and three other Panthers were surrounded by some 100 police officers in early February 1971. After the death of a number of prominent Panthers at the hands of police across the U.S., they refused to surrender, which resulted in a shoot-out. In the end, the four Panthers were arrested and severely beaten by local white police officers. They became known as the “High Point Four” and continued to play an important role in the beleaguered Winston-Salem Panther chapter that remained active throughout the 1970s.

The Rev. Dr. Bradford Lilley currently serves as Senior Pastor at Shekinah Glory Church International. He has been in the pastoral ministry for thirty years. He is also a successful businessman, owning and operating Capital Property Maintenance and other companies. The Rev. Dr. Bradford Lilley remains at the forefront of community activism, serving, among others, as a mentor for at-risk youth and heading Straight Streets Prison Ministry