Fifty years ago this month, one of the most groundbreaking social movements in American history began with the founding of the Black Panther Party. On the occasion of this anniversary, photojournalist Bryan Shih and historian Yohuru Williams have published the powerful new book, Portraits from an Unfinished Revolution. Collecting rarely heard stories of rank and file party members—like voter registrars, medical clinicians, and community teachers—the book offers a fresh take on the movement’s legacy through combining captivating portraits with interviews and scholarly essays. On October 13, Shih will visit ALOUD to share his portraits and reflect on the history and legacy of the Black Panther Party in a conversation with activist and organizer Melina Abdullah, and Panthers Ericka Huggins, Norma Mtume, and Phyllis Jackson. Take a peek at some of Shih’s portraits recently featured in a special New York Times slideshow, along with some archival images of local L.A. Black Panthers moments from the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.
“When you’re young, ‘fear’ is really not in your vocabulary.” — Claudia Chesson-Williams. Credit Courtesy of Bryan Shih.
“We don’t have to be the hero when we join. You become the hero through practice.” — Phyllis Jackson. Credit Courtesy of Bryan Shih.
“The community was standing with the Black Panther Party to say: ‘This is something that we want. This is something that we need.’” — Nelson Malloy. Credit Courtesy of Bryan Shih.
“I never felt strange not being black in the party because growing up in the Central District of Seattle, blacks, Asians, whites — we all got along just fine.” — Mike Tagawa. Credit Courtesy of Bryan Shih.
“At work inside the Panthers’ new office, left, are Party members Virginia Harris, her daughter Kerrie, Bob Duren and Steve Harris, on the phone.” At this time, the Party headquarters was located at 5022 S. Central Avenue. From 1976 to 1981, Bob Duren, also known as B. Kwaku Duren, was the Coordinator of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party. Photo dated May 22, 1977. Photo by Chris Gulker from the Herald-Examiner Collection.
“A crowd of 3,000 has gathered at City Hall to protest the tactics used by LAPD during the recent Black Panther HQ raid.” Photograph dated December 11, 1969. From the Herald-Examiner Collection.
Search other historical photos from the Los Angles Public Library’s Photo Collection. Learn more about this upcoming ALOUD program.