Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Vanguard Revisited: Poetic Politics & Black Futures, SFAI is thrilled to host Barbara Easley-Cox and Ericka Huggins in conversation with faculty member Dewey Crumpler to discuss the Black Panther Party and its continuing relevance. The Black Panther Party’s multifaceted approach to community activism, together with strong political education campaigns, coalitions with local and national organizations, and international relationships built from legacies of organizing within Black communities, created a template for decades of organizing to come. Barbara Easley-Cox and Ericka Huggins worked both locally and internationally for the Black Panther Party and their work continues to be foundational in leading a culture of resistance.
Barbara Easley-Cox is a civil rights activist, teacher, and advocate for literacy. She joined the Black Panthers Party in 1967, led the San Francisco branch with her husband and later worked in the New York and Philadelphia chapters. She participated in the Free Breakfast for Children Program, collected apparel for the Free Clothing Program, and aided in other survival programs hosted by the Party. Easley-Cox traveled around the world, spreading chapters and involvement of the Black Panther Party to Algeria and Germany alongside well known Panther Kathleen Cleaver. She continues working as an advocate for community development, poverty, and social justice.
Ericka Huggins is a human rights activist, poet, educator, Black Panther leader and former political prisoner. She has lectured throughout the United States and internationally. In 1968, at age 18, she became a leader in the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party with her husband John Huggins. As a result of her 14-year tenure as a leader of the Black Panther Party (the longest of any woman in leadership), she brings a unique, complete and honest perspective to the challenges and successes of the Black Panther Party and, its significance today.
Image Credits: (left) Barbara Easley-Cox, 2014. Photo by Suzun Lucia Lamaina. (right) Ericka Huggins, 2014. Photo by Suzun Lucia Lamaina.