How Emory Douglas, the revolutionary artist behind the Black Panthers, created an iconography of resistance and defiance
Growing up Black in an era of social upheaval and tumult, Emory Douglas was on the verge of spending his young adulthood in penal institutions until he took up printmaking at a juvenile rehabilitation facility in California. In 1960, he began studying graphic design at City College of San Francisco. Soon, a serendipitous meeting of time, place, talent and revolutionary spirit would lead to Douglas being named the Revolutionary Artist and Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party. From 1967 to the Party’s dissolution in the early 1980s, Douglas designed the art that came to define the Black Panthers and their iconography, including their newspaper, whose circulation peaked at 400,000. Interspersed with images of Douglas’s provocative art, this short documentary from the New York-based production studio Dress Code features Douglas reflecting on his life, and how it intersected with and propelled the Black Panther Party’s mission to fight back against institutional racism.
Video by Dress Code
Producer: Tara Rose Stromberg