Black Panthers: Photographs by Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones

By McGovern, Thomas | Afterimage, September-October 2004 | Go to article overview

Black Panthers: Photographs by Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones


McGovern, Thomas, Afterimage


Black Panthers: Photographs by Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones. May 15-July 23, 2004 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica, California

Introduction by Kathleen Cleaver, Greybull Press, 2002

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

For three months in 1968, Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones photographed the Black Panthers in their Oakland neighborhood. From portraits, to rallies, to organizing sessions, the photographers gained unprecedented access to the most celebrated and feared Black Power group in America during one of our most tumultuous and violent times. Race riots and armed revolt were very real occurrences and the tension between white, mainstream America and humiliated black America was at a boiling point. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated a few months earlier and Malcolm X in 1965, and the Panthers stepped in to fill the political void and empower Afro-Americans like never before.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Into this highly charged environment stepped two white liberals who wanted to balance the violent media image of the group with a more nuanced and humane picture. That such a pair could even gain access, let alone actually do this, is a testament to how long ago 1968 was. It is hard to imagine a radical group today allowing a total outsider into the inner sanctum. For us, what is even more remarkable are the photographs they made. Straightforward, elegant and with an economy of means, Baruch and Jones allowed the project to unfold over those few months. Because of their photographs, they earned the respect and admiration of Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver, who in turn facilitated their rapport with the other members.

The exhibition at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica is a powerful reminder of that time and is as historic as it is affectionate. Historical authority is created through the transparency of their style, the persuasiveness of the individual photographs and from the physical distance that the photographers usually kept between themselves and their subjects. It is in these areas that the photographers demonstrate their greatness as both journalists and artists.

The afore-mentioned affection is evident through the thinly disguised romanticism in the pictures. I'm sure there must have been some physically unattractive Panthers, but none are pictured. Each participant is handsome or beautiful and each Afro is coifed to perfection and each member's smooth, brown skin is fitted in a sleek black turtle-neck, leather gloves and Kinthe cloth. Each man is muscular and intellectual, often shown holding a book and each child is portrayed as a would-be angel.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A Pirkle Jones image from a 'Free Huey Newton Rally' shows five, slender, powerful young women, each with a perfect Afro, shouting defiantly while raising their fists in the familiar Black Power salute. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Black Panthers: Photographs by Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.