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Brooklyn Street Art

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Black Panthers and Political Street Art from the 60s to Today

Posted on February 8, 2018

Amidst the hype surrounding the new Black Panther movie breaking records in theaters, we’re reminded by New York-based writer, photographer and documentarian Camilo José Vergara on City Lab that the people-powered revolutionary socialist organization Black Panther Party were superheroes on the streets of US cities who used art in the Streets to advance social and political goals.

Wheat-pasting political posters in the 90s “There is a Black Panther born in the ghetto every 20 minutes,” Former Brooks Bakery, 113 East 125th St., Harlem, 1995. (photo ©Camilo José Vergara)

“I was able to survey Black Panthers’ street graphics from the high point of the early 1970s, when they stood for black beauty, a respect for their African roots, anger at the police, self defense, and public service, all while exhibiting a unique style,” says the award winning Vergara  in this new photo essay of works on the streets about the Panthers. “They had moral authority as they risked their lives resisting arrest, taking over buildings, feeding children, and marching. Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Black Panther Party opposed the Vietnam War. But unlike him, the Panthers advocated self defense and demanded reparations for centuries of slave labor. ”

Read more in “The Black Panther Party’s History of Urban Street Art” here.

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