Collection 1940s–1970s

Emory Douglas. The Black Panther Newspaper, vol. 4, no.13 (Our main purpose). 1970 482

Two color ink on newsprint, 17 5/8 × 11 1/2" (44.8 × 29.2 cm). Collection of Patrick and Nesta McQuaid and Akili Tommasino, gift of the Committee on Architecture and Design Funds. © 2022 Emory Douglas / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Emory Douglas: Art is a language. It's a way to communicate. You're impacted by art every day. So the visuals were a great part of the Black Panther movement.

Huey Newton and Bobby Seale had the vision when they started the paper that a lot of the Black community learned through observation and participation. So for those who weren't going to read the long articles and the seniors who weren't going to read the papers or couldn't, they would get the gist of the story by seeing the artwork and reading the captions or the bold headlines.

We had very limited materials initially. We had the typewriter that a lot of the articles was typed on. We had to make our own layout sheets, cut and paste the articles. We could only afford one color plus black. But we were able to develop our own design and our own concept.

I was inspired by woodcuts and wanted to do wood cuts, but it took so long. So I began to mimic woodcuts using markers, creating that kind of a bold look. I also began to integrate collages into the work and it gave more meaning and more depth to the images themselves.

We used to say “all power to the people.” We had a readership of 400,000. The solidarity came in the artwork, it spoke a language that transcended borders. We always had news about Africa, Asia, and Latin America, solidarity with those struggles that were going on. So it had a great impact around the world.

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