Event showcases radicals in Black & Brown

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I’ve just returned, all energized I might add, from an incredible event sponsored by the Sonja Stone Center for Black Culture and History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The event was called “Radicals in Black & Brown: Palante, People’s Power and Common Cause in the Black Panthers and the Young Lords Organization.”

The theme of this event was to examine some of the moments in the “short existence from the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s when the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords Organization captured the imagination of the nation and the world and stood out as symbols of direct resistance of the oppression of people of color and poor people in the United States.”

The gathering included an exhibit of photographs, videos, posters/banners, newspapers and musical recordings. Featured works, including my own, of photographers and artists such as Hiram Maristany (N.Y.), Gordon Parks, Reginald A. Krasney, Melanie King, Pinkie Jones, Stephen Shames, Emory Douglas, Barbara Price and others are displayed.

This incredible collection will be on display until March 2.

A symposium with over 200 in attendance was held at the opening reception to discuss the events that created both of these organizations and the impact they made during that time period.

A dynamic panel was assembled that included members of the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords Organization/Party, including Jose “Cha Cha” Jimenez (leader of the YLO in Chicago), Denise Oliver-Velez, Mickey Melendez (Young Lords Party in N.Y.), Kathleen Cleaver, Ahmad A. Rahman and Alden “Poisan” Kimbrough from the Black Panther Party.

The discussion was informative and energetic, especially due to the responses from the distinguished panel. Great questions from the audience were asked as well.

Hopefully this exhibit will travel throughout the country and eventually find its way to your area. When and if it does, you should definitely mark your calendar and see it.

Darrel Enck-Wanzer, instructor at the Department of Communication Studies at Easter Illinois University, who also served on the panel, helped with research on the Young Lords Organization. Johanna Fernandez, a professor at Carnegie-Mellon University, moderated the discussion. Fernandez also served as one of the program directors, along with Charles Jones from Georgia State University, who also served on the panel.

This project would not have been possible without the vision, effort and hard work of Dr. Joseph Jordan, director of the Stone Center, and Charles Jones from Georgia State University.

I congratulate all those involved: great job!