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Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas
December 14, 2007 7:26 PM   Subscribe

Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas, the Black Panther Party's Minister of Culture from 1967 to 1979. Douglas is still alive and making posters for the cause, in this case the San Francisco 8, who were arrested earlier this year for the murder of a police officer in 1971 -- despite the fact that evidence was thrown out of federal court in 1976 because "officers stripped the men, blindfolded them, beat them and covered them in blankets soaked in boiling water," and "used electric prods on their genitals." The SF Weekly published a detailed 5-page story about the case in November 2006.
posted by mediareport (19 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Some of my favorites.
posted by mediareport at 7:29 PM on December 14, 2007


The times they are a'changin...back.

*bobrobertsfilter*
posted by Smedleyman at 7:53 PM on December 14, 2007


excellent post. thanks. love this one.
posted by josephtate at 8:02 PM on December 14, 2007


Great post, mediareport.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:10 PM on December 14, 2007


Maybe I just missed this in the links somehow, but there's a fairly new coffee table book of his work featuring essays by his contemporaries and others including Amiri Baraka and Danny Glover. It also features an interview with Emory. I like the book cuz the reproductions are high quality and pretty big - almost he size of the original newspaper pages they were printed on.

Thanks for the post!
posted by serazin at 8:55 PM on December 14, 2007


Also, what really pains me about the SF8 situation is that these guys are old men, some in their seventies. Some have been community activists for many years, mostly they've just been leading pretty plain boring lives for 30 years.

On the off chance that anyone wants to go - the next hearing is January 10. I'm going to try to be there - maybe we can have a metafilter meetup.


Thanks again for posting this mediareport. I appreciate the link from an older movement to the issues that are still impacting its participants.
posted by serazin at 9:02 PM on December 14, 2007


A quality post mediareport thanks for posting it. For contrast, here is a Black Panther coloring book that the FBI put together and massed mailed across America.
posted by Sailormom at 9:36 PM on December 14, 2007


what really pains me about the SF8 situation is that these guys are old men, some in their seventies.

So was the guy who shot Medgar Evers. The San Francisco 8 (and the BLA) seem to have been involved in some pretty shady stuff. So did they do it? Torturing suspects is reprehensible (and criminal, as far as I'm concerned) but that doesn't make these guys innocent.

Nonethess, Douglas' art is some pretty amazing shit, and this is a very good post.
posted by dhammond at 9:43 PM on December 14, 2007


It doesn't make them innocent, but confessions under torture don't make them guilty. And "being involved in pretty shady stuff" doesn't make someone guilty of every crime they are accused of. The DA has yet to reveal any new evidence in the case, so as far as we know at this point, there is not enough evidence (basically, any) to get a conviction.

For the record, I actually don't see the use of prosecuting the elderly Klan members who are, in their final years, being revealed as murderers. I don't think that a 70 year old Byron De La Beckwith was probably a physical threat to anyone anymore, so imprisoning him doesn't "protect society" per se. I wish we lived in a society that actually valued healing and justice over punishment. A truth and reconciliation style process would, in my view, do more to actually move forward from the atrocities of this country's racist past.

Of course, given the fact that we do operate under the criminal justice system that we do, it certainly would have been more fair if De La Beckwith had been convicted when he was first tried in the sixties. And a conviction at that point might have actually protected members of the black community in Mississippi, so would have had a much greater social value.
posted by serazin at 9:56 PM on December 14, 2007


Someone needs to remind the SFPD that there's an old common-law rule: you can either beat the shit out of a suspect or you can indict them, but it's poor form to try and do both.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:24 PM on December 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


The San Francisco 8 (and the BLA) seem to have been involved in some pretty shady stuff

Yeah, I think that's spelled out pretty clearly in the last link, dhammond. I have very mixed feelings about BLA-style militant violence (not least because I think it's counterproductive in the long run), but the prosecution of these men on the flimsy available evidence seems a wretchedly vindictive and unjust thing to do. It's very much unlike the case of "the guy who shot Medgar Evers," who, as I recall, was convicted late in life at least partly on evidence that he'd *bragged* about the crime over the years.

But back to the art: some of it seems like typical agitprop, sacrificing art for propaganda, but man, when Douglas nails it, as in the blue image at the bottom left of the first link, he really, really nails it. I like the ones where he's using that bold style to quickly create a woodcut feel.
posted by mediareport at 11:12 PM on December 14, 2007


Torturing suspects is reprehensible

I'm sure that scalding their skin & zapping their privates hurt them, but it takes a level of pain equivalent to organ failure for it to be torture. We need to be precise in our language.
posted by scalefree at 11:31 PM on December 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


There are some interesting images in that first link, but these two posters are especially cool.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:49 PM on December 14, 2007


Excellent post! I've really enjoyed his work ever since being introduced to it a few years ago at a MOCA lecture on revolutionary artwork. It looks as if the same museum is hosting a gallery of his work presently: Emory Douglas at MOCA. (I will definitely be checking this out!)
posted by numinous at 12:23 AM on December 15, 2007


Forrest Gump: "Sorry I had a fight in the middle of your Black Panther party."

Sorry, that's what I first thought of when I saw the post.

Great links, thanks, mediareport!
posted by amyms at 12:50 AM on December 15, 2007


For the record, I actually don't see the use of prosecuting the elderly Klan members who are, in their final years, being revealed as murderers. I don't think that a 70 year old Byron De La Beckwith was probably a physical threat to anyone anymore, so imprisoning him doesn't "protect society" per se. I wish we lived in a society that actually valued healing and justice over punishment.

Well, how about they prosecute these cops that tortured them too? Prosecutions all around, I don't exactly see why not. I do think they should prosecute those old Civil Rights cases, too. There is more to the criminal justice system then just rehabilitation and public safety.

I bet the DNA thing was just a ploy to try to get them to talk, make a deal. But these guys have been in and of jail for 30 years. They are obviously not going to start talking now.
posted by delmoi at 1:15 AM on December 15, 2007


"officers stripped the men, blindfolded them, beat them and covered them in blankets soaked in boiling water," and "used electric prods on their genitals."

what, no waterboarding?
posted by matteo at 1:23 AM on December 15, 2007


Reach one, teach one.

Empowerment lay this way. Too bad our collective attention span sucks.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:11 AM on December 15, 2007


Fantastic post, many thanks.
posted by PHINC at 1:29 PM on December 15, 2007


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