circa 1965
5.5 in HIGH x 3 in WIDE x 3 in DEEP
(13.97 cm HIGH x 7.62 cm WIDE x 7.62 cm DEEP)
Museum Purchase

The dark wood sculpture shows a fist clenched in the black power sign, thumb folded over four fingers.

The black power movement exploded on the scene in the 1960's. In its panoramic sweep, it gathered in human expression in all its forms: art, poetry, literature, politics, culture, music, fashion and violence. Its energy was directed against the dominant culture's system of governance and not a specific political party. On 17th June, 1966, Stokely Carmichael, the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), spoke at a rally in Greenwood, Mississippi, and argued for Black Power. Carmichael defined this as "a call for black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, and to build a sense of community". Carmichael also advocated that African Americans should form and lead their own organizations and urged a complete rejection of the values of American society. Some civil rights groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), rejected Carmichael's ideas and accused him of black racism. The Black Panther Party organized in Oakland, in October of 1966, on the basis of Black Power.

Picture This Information

This artifact is part of the OMCA's Picture This website. More about the context and history of this artifact is available at Picture This.

About the Picture This web project: California's Perspectives on American History is a resource for teachers and students to learn about the experiences of diverse peoples of California by using primary source images from the Oakland Museum of California's collections. Organized into 11 time periods spanning from pre-1769 to the present, more than 300 photographs, drawings, posters, and prints tell stories from the perspectives of different ethnic groups. Historical contexts are provided to offer a framework of California's role in relation to American history.

The National Archives state that primary sources, "fascinate students because they are real and they are personal: history is humanized through them." Picture This invites students to examine the historical record, encouraging them to connect history with real people and explore how images tell stories and convey historical evidence about the human experience. History becomes more than just a series of facts, dates, and events.      

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