The Role of the Revolutionary Artist: Emory Douglas
Emory Douglas worked as the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until the Party disbanded in the 1980s. His graphic art was featured in most issues of the newspaper The Black Panther (which had a peak circulation of 139,000 per week in 1970) and has become an iconic representation of the struggles of the Party during the 1960s and 70s. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Douglas “branded the militant-chic Panther image decades before the concept became commonplace. He used the newspaper’s popularity to incite the disenfranchised to action, portraying the poor with genuine empathy, not as victims but as outraged, unapologetic and ready for a fight.”
As a teenager, Douglas was incarcerated at the Youth Training School in Ontario, California; during his time there he worked in the prison’s printing shop. He later studied commercial art at San Francisco City College.