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Painting With Clenched Fist

THE TATE MODERN’S ‘SOUL OF A NATION’ EXHIBITION LETS BLACK ARTISTS TELL THEIR STORY

ART: SEE THIS SHOW

PRINTS OF THE CITY: The artist Faith Ringgold outside her studio in Englewood, New Jersey. The Tate Modern exhibit includes her work, as well as prints by Emory Douglas, including “We Shall Survive Without a Doubt.”
FROM LEFT: GIONCARLO VALENTINE FOR NEWSWEEK; EMORY DOUGLAS/ART RESOURCE, NY

IN 1970, artist Faith Ringgold made a poster for the Committee to Defend the Black Panthers. A black face looked out from a red background. Some of the facial features were rendered in green, completing the triumvirate of the African liberation color palette. “Free all political prisoners,” it read. “All power to the people.”

Ringgold brought the poster to the committee’s offices on East 18th Street in Manhattan. “They didn’t like it,” she recalls. “And you’ve got our address on there,” they said. Defend the Panthers had just had its offices firebombed; announcing its location might invite another attack.

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