Black Power in Print: The Black Panther Newspapers at MoMA
Rescued from a storage closet, a dusty box contained a trove of Emory Douglas’s iconic graphic work for the Black Panther Party.
Oct 12, 2021
The salvaged box of Black Panther newspaper issues
Interior page detail from The Black Panther Newspaper, vol. 4, no. 13 (Our main purpose). 1970
Two years later, in 2015, I was working as a curatorial assistant at The Museum of Modern Art when I hesitantly reached out to Patrick’s parents Carla and Bill. It turned out that Patrick had enthusiastically told them about our idea. When I visited the McQuaids, they graciously retrieved the box with the newspapers from their basement and entrusted it to me with the charge that I carry out the project that was so abruptly halted.
Page detail showing Party members’ names underlined and circled with a blue colored pencil, from The Black Panther Newspaper, vol. 4, no. 3 (By lifting their hands against these revoluationaries, they lifted their hands against the best that humanity posesses). 1969
Patrick’s box also contained a copy of the controversial Black Panther Coloring Book, published in 1968 by an artist then known as Mark Teemer, the Lieutenant of Culture for the Sacramento Chapter of the Black Panther Party; Teemer is now known as Akinsanya Kambon.
Cover of the Black Panther Coloring Book, 1968
During the four years before my former colleagues in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design contacted me about acquiring the collection, I studied the newspapers, stored them as safely as I could, spoke about them at conferences, and contacted cultural institutions in hopes of keeping the collection intact and publicly accessible. It was both thrilling and instructive to share my nascent research, first with the students of interdisciplinary artist Kamau Amu Patton at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and, later, with Los Angeles–based artist Awol Erizku at MoMA PS1, at the invitation of former MoMA librarian Jennifer Tobias. I have been particularly struck by emerging artists’ enthusiastic embrace of this historic material.
I would like to thank my former colleagues for giving the newspapers formerly in my care a proper institutional home and for inviting me to mark the occasion of their MoMA debut with a public conversation with Emory Douglas on October 14 and this article, which commemorates Patrick McQuaid’s radical act of reclamation. I reiterate my gratitude to Patrick’s son Nesta, mother Carla, and brother Dan for the opportunity to live with and learn from his collection. It has been a great gift, and I am honored to have helped MoMA share that gift with the world.
 The March 13, 1971, issue introduced the renamed The Black Panther: Intercommunal News Service
 Joshua Bloom “If You Can Get Your Hands on Copies of the Black Panther Newspaper,” p.xxiii in Hilliard, David. 2007. The Black panther: Intercommunal News Service
 Century Foundation records, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. b. 118 f. 7 Beaton, Leonard—The Politics of Arms Control 1969
Emory Douglas will join curators on Thursday, October 14, at 7:00 p.m. EST for a live-streamed discussion of his work. He will also hold a workshop with emerging artists as part of MoMA’s Art and Practice series, moderated by Professor Colette Gaiter, on Wednesday, November 3. You can further explore the printed legacy of the Black Panther Party and the Black Power movement through the Museum of Fine Art, Boston’s Black Power in Print project, launching October 15.
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