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Black Panther: Emory Douglas and the art of revolution

30 October 2008 to 19 April 2009

Emory Douglas, first and only Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party saw his work exhibited in this Urbis’  premiere exhibition,which was touted by Museums Journal as ‘exhibition of the decade’.

Looking back 40 years to that controversial moment from the 1968 Mexican Olympic Games, when John Carlos and Tommy Smith raised their fists in a Black Power salute, this exhibition looked at the meaning and history behind the gesture, as told through the graphic artwork of Emory Douglas, the official artist of the Black Panther Party and its first and only Minister of Culture.

Douglas created a compelling, motivational graphic style. His art from this period, documented growing civil unrest and rapid change. Previously unseen in the UK, the exhibition showed Douglas’ work from this period, including posters, cartoons and campaign pamphlets.

Emory Douglas became an active member of the Black Panther Party in 1967. He quickly became responsible for the design of the Black Panther’s, Black Community News Service, the official paper of the party, in which he used his strong graphic style to communicate recent news and events to the largely illiterate local black community.

His slogans, ‘All Power to the People’, ‘Revolution in our Lifetime’, and his use of pigs and rats for the first time, to represent police and politicians, have become part of everyday language.

Coinciding with Barak Obama’s White House challenge, the exhibition acted as a timely reminder of just how much the political and social climate has changed since 1968.


Interview with Emory Douglas (PDF) by Mark Rainey in the Social Café at Urbis, Manchester. 28/10/2008.

Media Release

Black Panther.pdf – click here to download the Black Panther’s media release

Customer Comments

“The Emory Douglas exhibition is very powerful, moving and timely: it’s something I’ll always associate with the historic events of this week in the US and put them into very sharp focus.  In short I think Urbis is proving a great asset and facet of the city and I look forward to visiting again in the future”

– Kevin Morgan

“I learned more today about these issues that in any of my previous 54 years”

“The exhibit is the best yet. I like how it was arranged and the thought and time that went into making it a great success….The exhibition was absolutely inspirational. It’s like a complete education on the American Civil rights movement , very sensitively put together, and I would recommend that every young person within reach should get a chance to experience it. It is quite frankly one of the best exhibitions I have seen”

-Cilla Baynes, Director CAN

Emory Douglas exhibition is fantastic. It had my Yr12 Art students gobsmacked with the content. We visited the day before Obama won the election and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect to get the message home. They are learning about Civil Rights in A Level History, so I’ve encouraged that department to bring a group too. As an old exhibition designer myself I thought content and layout were excellent. I’ve told everyone at school about it too. best emotive exhibition I’ve seen. Thank you.

– Anne Louise Quinton

Press Comments

“The outstanding Emory Douglas exhibition at the Urbis in Manchester is much more than an art show, visitors can feel the atmosphere the Black Panthers developed in and the outrage that made the party grow”

– Socialist Worker

“Urbis has delivered a stunning and information rich exhibition for Manchester and the UK, it feels almost revolutionary.  I can’t think of another UK museum that would have taken a chance on an exhibition like this. The experience was so good I had to go back a second time”

– Felicity Heywood, Museums Journal

“Yet another reminder of the resilience of a community under extreme social oppression, the exhibition and Douglas’ work are also timely reminders of the nature of community transformation. The message is simple: oppression sucks, knowledge is power and change begins on the most basic of societal levels”

– Hive Magazine

See our short film of the exhibition here

Listen to Emory Douglas interviewed on bbc radio manchester.

Read about Emory Douglas in The Guardian here


One Comment


  1. Interview with Emory Douglas | edifyingdiscourse

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