Emory Douglas was the Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture, as well as chief art director for the party’s newspaper. He was responsible for crafting the party’s visual identity, matching it to the party’s revolutionary message and mission, broadening its reach and overall impact.
The Black Panther newspaper was founded to articulate the party’s message and Douglas’ artistic talents and experience proved a powerful combination: his striking collages of photographs and his own drawings combined to create some of the era’s most iconic images, like that of Newton with his signature beret and large gun set against a background of a blood-red star, which could be found blanketing neighborhoods during the 12 years the paper existed. And even still today, at 72 years old, Emory continues to give a voice to the voiceless.
Needless to say, his work has been exhibited in museums around the world.
In the new short documentary below, through archival footage and conversations with Emory, the filmmakers share his story, alongside the rise and fall of the Panthers.
Produced and directed by an outfit called Dress Code.
Following the documentary, you’ll find a lengthy and still very relevant audio conversation with Douglas from 2008, when his work was being exhibited at the MOCA museum in Los Angeles, CA. During the 45 minute chat, he discusses the graphic art he created for the Black Panther Party during the late 1960s through the early ‘80s.
And here’s the 45-minute conversation with Douglas from 2008 (no visual accompaniment, unfortunately):