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The art of Emory Douglas: Reinterpreting the History and the Legacy of the Black Panther Party

A reinterpretation of the legacy and a retelling of the history of the Black Panther Party through the pieces of art of the revolutionary artist Emory Douglas. Interview to the Artist in appendix.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Introduction       Founded  in  Oakland,  California,  in  1966,  the  Black  Panther  Party  is  the  most  famous  and,   at  the  same  time,  demonized,  organization  of  the  Black  Power  Movement  (BPM).   The  group   stepped   into   history   as   a   radical   and   revolutionary   group   led   by   law-­‐breaking  and   dangerous  individuals.   The  Panthers,  as  its  members  called  themselves,  encouraged  such   a   stereotype.   They   adopted   a   military   posture   and   a   bravado   attitude,   showing   off   an   aggressive  look  as  they  wore  “black  leather  jackets,  tilt ed  berets,  sunglasses  and  guns”.  It   was  especially  the  advocacy  of   armed  self-­‐defense  and  the  carrying  out  of  pa trols  in  the   ghettos  -­‐  in  order  to  exert  “the  community  control  of  police”   -­‐  that  reduced  the   BPP  to  a   violent  group  in  the   popular  imagination 1 .  John   Edgar  Hoover,   the  director  of  the  FBI  and   the  mastermind  of  the  Counter  Intelligence  Program  (COINTELPRO),  responsible  for  the   final  demise  of  the  party,  defined  the  Panthers  as  the  “ the  single  greatest  threat  to  the   nation’s  internal  security” 2 .     Behind  the  very  governmental  persecution  and  the  negative  historical  accounts  of  the   Party  there  is,  though,  a   superficial  understanding  of  the  Panthers’  experience.   The  white -­‐ controlled   media   -­‐  and  the  hist orical  accounts  they  influenced   -­‐  only  focused   on  the  group’s   paramilitary  character ,   further  distorting  and  misleading   its   revolutionary  message. 3  It  was   in  fact   the  mainstream  culture  which,  by  means  of   demonizing  images  of  the  Panthers,   fostered  a  misunderstanding  of  the  Party’s  politics  and  revolutionary  urge.   Beyond  their   aggressive  aesthetics   there  was,  instead,  as  Yohuru  Williams  has  asserted ,  a  group  “of   young   activists   who   dreamed   of   transforming   the   world,   but   in   the   end   settled   on   community  empowerment  through  pragmatic  survival  programs  that  attempted  to  address   black  poverty  and  misery  in  urban  ghettos”. 4     The   present   work   is   a   case   study   that   intends   t o   contribute   to  re-­‐reading  and   re-­‐ interpreting  the  history  of  the  Black  Panther  Party .  Such  a  reassessment  draws  upon  an                                                                                                                     1   Joseph,  “Introduction,”  in   The  Black  Power  Movement,   3.   2   John  Edgar  Hoover  as  quoted  in  Williams,   “A  Red,  Black  and  Green  Liberation  Jumpsuit ,”   179.   3   Simon  Wendt,  “T he  Roots  of  Black  Power?  Armed  Resist ance  and  the  Radicalizati on  of  the  Civil  Rights   Movement,”  in   The  Black  Power  Movement.  Rethinking  the  Civil  Rights  Black  Power  Era,   ed.  Peniel  E.  Joseph   (New  York:  Routledge,  2006),  163.       4   Yohuru  Williams  as  quoted  in  Joseph,  “Reinterpreting  the  Black  P ower  Movement ,”   6.    

Laurea liv.II (specialistica)

Facoltà: Lettere e Filosofia

Autore: Marina Campenni Contatta »

Composta da 149 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 18 click dal 24/07/2015.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.