Louder than Words: Black Panther Materials
from the Collection of Billy X Jennings
August 22– October 6, 2007
Huey Newton out of prison and surrounded by youth of
East Oakland community, August 1970. Photograph by Ducho.
This exhibition examines the Black Panther Party’s survival programs, which served African-American communities across the nation from the mid-1960s through 1982. These programs served as an example of what could be done to effect revolutionary social change, and today, many such programs have roots in or are a direct result of the BPP’s leadership efforts. The breakfast program, for example, created in 1969 in Oakland, grew over time to provide meals to thousands of children nationally every school day. Likewise, the BPP sponsored medical clinics, which provided free health care, including screening for sickle cell anemia and an ambulance service.
The survival programs received far less attention in the mainstream media than the Party’s politically activist ideals. Photographs in the exhibition depict people signing up to vote for the first time and families who participated in the busing to prisons program. BPP photographs of the award-winning Oakland Community School are also displayed for the first time.1
The exhibition also highlights the artwork of Emory Douglas, the BPP’s former minister of culture and chief artist of the Black Panther newspapers. Lee Lew-Lee’s documentary “All Power to the People” (1997) will be shown throughout the exhibition, as will other films and videos related to the Black Panthers.
Serving the People Body and Soul is what this exhibition will reveal.
Billy X Jennings
Community Art Exhibit of Emory Douglas’ Artwork,
1969. Photograph by Ducho .
1In The Black Panther Party Reconsidered (Black Classic Press, 1998), JoNina M. Abron writes, “The survival projects included police-alert patrols, The Black Panther Intercommunal News Service, the breakfast for children program, free medical clinics, the Oakland Community School, free busing to prisons, the free food program, the free clothing and shoes programs, the free ambulance program, sickle cell anemia testing, Seniors Against a Fearful Environment (S.A.F.E.), and the free pest control program.”