Fifty Years of Activist Art by Emory Douglas

“#BlackLivesMatter—the movement, not just the hashtag—is the most significant broad-based human rights coalition for black Americans since the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. The struggle today could not be fought in its current iterations without the contributions of artist Emory Douglas and others who illuminated hidden ugly racial truths in compelling and beautifully executed images. Starting in 1966, Black Panther party leaders, including Douglas—artist, designer, illustrator, and the Panthers’ Minister of Culture—used their newspaper and organization to fight rampant police brutality and ongoing systemic oppression in the US and the world. Nearly 50 years later, it is a profound disappointment that the same issues dominate conversations about race and spark protests in cities and on college campuses around the country. It is also true that these highly visible protests resonate with the efforts of all the revolutionary thinkers who came before them. Emory Douglas continues to work for justice after decades of triumphs and setbacks. He travels all over the world to talk about his work, collaborate on projects, and inspire young people to advocate for change. In the US, he labors tirelessly on behalf of political prisoners, migrants, and against what he calls ‘police terror.’ In spite of oppression’s persistence in American society, there are some differences since 1966. The current Black Lives Matter protests against police killings, although widely contested, are reported and discussed in multiple media for anyone who wants to know about them. In 1972, the Black Panthers revised the tenth point in their platform to read, ‘We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace and people’s community control of modern technology.’ At that time technology included broadcast media like radio and television. In 2015 cell phone videos, surveillance camera footage, and live corporate news coverage reveal the truth of what too often happens in everyday encounters between black people and police. Social media communities like Facebook and Black Twitter quickly disseminate images and information that can seem more trustworthy than mainstream media. In the 1960s, ’70s, and early ’80s, the Black Panther weekly newspaper, which Douglas art directed, was considered a radical alternative publication. …”
This Just In: Emory Douglas & The Black Panther
NY Times: Fifty Years Later, Black Panthers’ Art Still Resonates
NY Times: Fascination and Fear: Covering the Black Panthers
W – Emory Douglas
amazon: Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas
vimeo: Emory Douglas: The Art of The Black Panthers

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