A radical political organizer, Frank “Parky” Grace was a founding member of the New Bedford chapter of the Black Panther Party. Radicalized during his tour of duty in Vietnam in 1967, Grace became involved in the antiwar movement upon his return and organized the local branch of the Black Panthers shortly before the New Bedford Rebellion of 1970. In 1972, he and his brother Ross were charged with the murder, receiving life sentences. Parky Grace contended all along that he had been framed by the police for his political activity and in 1982, Ross admitted that he had been responsible for the murder, backing up his brother’s contention that he was not present at the time. Parky Grace was released from prison in 1984 and lived subsequently in New Bedford and Boston. He died in Boston in October 2001.
The Grace Papers consist of a powerful series of letters written to Gloria Xifaras Clark while Grace was confined in Walpole State Penitentiary. Informed by his revolutionary politics, the letters offer insight into the conditions of imprisonment, his treatment by guards, and his relationships with fellow prisoners.
- Black Panther Party
- New Bedford (Mass.)--History
- Walpole State Prison
- Clark, Gloria Xifaras, 1942-