Friday Night Learning
I wanted to feature a couple of photographs I took of the gallery before I talked about the experience, so whoever is reading this could see the pieces that stuck with me. My first impression of the Oakland Museum of California is that it was larger than I thought it was going to be! I spent most of my time at the All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50 exhibit. It was disturbing seeing how the Panthers, years ago, spent their time fighting against problems that are still happening today. In 1966, The Black Panther Party created a 10-point platform. These points were requests that the party demanded be made immediately. Seventh on the list states, “We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people, other people of color, all oppressed people inside the United States.” In the exhibit, Ellen Bepp displayed her carving of all the unarmed African Americans killed by police in 2014. Each name was connected to the name before and after it.
The Black Panthers used word of mouth and published newspapers to spread their message. The gallery perfectly showcased this with actual published work in frames across a full museum wall. Those who have power, control history and that had never been more apparent then when I went to this museum. I always held the belief that the Black Panthers were a rebellious militant group who used violence to fight white supremacy. I was wrong. The Black Panthers were so variable in their goals and services that it was amazing to see what they really did.
There is a white washing of history, and the legacy of the Black Panthers has been washed away. This museum stands against that fact and rightfully gives this group the respect it deserves.
All photos taken by me.