Is there anything about your world that you wish you could change? In 1966 a party called The Black Panthers was formed and played an important role in the African-American struggle to gain equality and justice. This group inspired progress and change through a movement based upon leadership and community. The Black Panthers created a Ten Point platform called “What We Want, What We Believe”, and much of the issues that it addressed are still relevant today: full employment, healthcare, housing, education, fair trials, the end of police brutality, and economic justice.

Through an active campaign of visuals, graphics, posters and newspaper production, The Black Panthers successfully communicated with and captured the imagination of the American people. Much of this communication was dependant upon the use of specific signs and symbols. The Black Panther symbol branded much of their activity, as did their style of uniform dress: a leather jacket, black slacks, dark shoes, a beret and a blue shirt. Consider the signs, symbols, actions, poses and postures found within the Black Panther images and how they communicate a bigger message. Photography is a great way to highlight issues that you think are important and a way to inspire cultural awareness. The Black Panthers legacy is a belief that anyone can effect change. What change do you want to inspire?

Howard Bingham, Black Panther Rally #7, 1968

Members of the Black Panther Party demonstrating outside a New York City courthouse, April 11, 1969. Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

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