There is a cycle in the visual dialogue on race in America. Constrained within the prevailing cultural lexicon, expressions of resistance emerge in the language of the Black cultural vernacular; the message is co-opted or suppressed and then emerges again from “behind the veil.” Advancements in the fields of visual culture and semiotics have provided a model to better understand how political and cultural messages are communicated through the visual mediums of popular culture. In this essay I will examine the language of symbols and images that go essentially unexamined and unrecognized in political research, a language that affects everyday perceptions of political reality. It is in the context of the use of symbols and images in meaning production that I will explore the art of Emory Douglas and the use of images in the Black Panther newspaper and community outreach in the critical period of 1969 to 1973. These images and symbols created a communal visual language of resistance that has resurfaced periodically over time and can be found in the contemporary struggle for Black liberation.


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pp. 117-135
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