Despite our WASPy, suburbanite background (which we go to great lengths to avoid acknowledging except when confronted with it like a speeding train at events such as these) – we walked through an exhibition full of powerful history and raw emotion, and felt inspired to raise a fist in solidarity. The Black Panthers may have been rooted in controversy, but what they wanted was simple: the improvement of their communities, better nutrition for their children and equality on their own terms.

coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Black Panther Party’s founding in Oakland and brings together rare artifacts, documentary photography and film, as well as contemporary art that reflects upon the legacy of the Panthers, the Black Power movement, and the desire for revolutionary political and social change. Part of YBCA’s Risk and Response series, the exhibition is one of the “big ideas” that will guide the Center’s programming for 2006.

Image: Pirkle Jones, Women, Free Huey Rally, Oakland, 1968

SFist Shelley, contributing

Rank and File