The Black Arts Movement and the Black Panther Party in American Visual Culture  book cover
1st Edition

The Black Arts Movement and the Black Panther Party in American Visual Culture

ISBN 9781138605923
Published February 21, 2019 by Routledge
232 Pages

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Book Description

This book examines a range of visual expressions of Black Power across American art and popular culture from 1965 through 1972. It begins with case studies of artist groups, including Spiral, OBAC and AfriCOBRA, who began questioning Western aesthetic traditions and created work that honored leaders, affirmed African American culture, and embraced an African lineage. Also showcased is an Oakland Museum exhibition of 1968 called "New Perspectives in Black Art," as a way to consider if Black Panther Party activities in the neighborhood might have impacted local artists’ work. The concluding chapters concentrate on the relationship between selected Black Panther Party members and visual culture, focusing on how they were covered by the mainstream press, and how they self-represented to promote Party doctrine and agendas.

Table of Contents

Introduction  Part I: "Black Arts We Make": Aesthetics, Collaboration, and Social Identity in the Visual Art of Black Power  1. Pedigree of the Black Arts Movement: The March on Washington, Death of Malcolm X, and Free Jazz  2. Organization of Black American Culture: A Show of Respect  3. African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists: Finding a Black Aesthetic  4. Oakland Museum’s "New Perspectives in Black Art": Saying "Black Lives Matter" in 1968  Part II: The Black Panther Party in Photography and Print Ephemera  5. Huey P. Newton Enthroned: Iconic Image of Black Power  6. Eldridge Cleaver’s Visual Acumen and the Coalition of Black Power with White Resistance  7. Emory Douglas: Revolutionary Artist and Visual Theorist  8. Picturing the Female Revolutionary

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Jo-Ann Morgan is Professor of African American Studies and Art History at Western Illinois University, USA. Her previous book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin as Visual Culture, received the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship in 2008.


"Morgan has delivered an invaluable gift not only for college students and teachers but also for a general readership hungry for more knowledge on the Black Arts Movement. Although the stunning visual presentation might speak for itself, the reader is offered a bounty of visual history and artistic insights. Veterans of the Black Power generation will cherish this nearly encyclopedic volume."

--CAA Reviews

"This book gathers compelling images from a period in African American history that we still struggle to comprehend and honor. As an art historian Jo-Ann Morgan brings an incisive intelligence to her work, situating the images in their time and place, and providing a welcome visual resource for students of the sixties."

--A.J. Morey, James Madison University, USA