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The History

The Black Panthers (officially the Black Panther Party, originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) are many things to many people.
The BPP were active for around ten years from 1966 and much like any political party or activist organization that seeks to empower or protect a deprived minority, they are seen in both positive and negative lights.

When taking an historical view of the Black Panthers it is vital to put that view into the unique context of the times. This is because any REACTION can only be understood fully when assessed against the ACTION that brought it about in the first place. This does not necessarily justify that reaction but will enable us to find better and fairer solutions in the future.

When thinking of the Black Panthers, ask yourself this simple question:

“Would the Black Panther Party have existed if people in the African American community at the time, felt SAFE, SECURE, FAIRLY TREATED, IN CONTROL OF THEIR OWN LIVES or ABLE TO FEED AND CLOTHE THEMSELVES?”

Regardless of your personal, subjective view of the Black Panthers, their efforts and actions made a difference to the lives of MILLIONS of people. They were a crucial part of the movement that delivered HOPE to those who were suffering. The HOPE that things could CHANGE.

Now, in 2008, the seeds of that HOPE are beginning to bear fruit and we have seen perhaps the biggest CHANGE so far…

The Legacy

The Black Panther Legacy was a series of events that brought Emory Douglas and Billy X Jennings to London at an historical time, to celebrate their work and assess the contribution that the Black Panthers made to our lives today.

Throughout October, Toby worked with his after school Art Club to create 3 pieces of artwork, for display during the Black Panther Legacy event at The Tabernacle in Notting Hill.

The children screenprinted and painted panthers and created ‘wordsheets’ using words from the Panthers 10-point program, such as ‘FREEDOM’ ‘BREAD’ ‘JUSTICE’ and ‘LAND’.
The children also filled in Obama colouring sheets, using watercolours, pencils and pens.

After creating several preparatory pieces, Toby made full use of all of the wonderful work as the basis for 2 large Panther pieces and an Obama piece. Click below to see the final work.
The Change

On Tuesday 4th November 2008, Senator Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States of America. He is the first African American person to hold this position.
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