Framing the Black Panthers
The Spectacular Rise of a Black Power Icon
By Jane Rhodes
(New Press, Hardcover, 9781565849617, 404pp.)
Publication Date: September 2005
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The Sixties may be over, but the Black Panthers--the ultimate symbol of black power, radical inspiration, and the excesses of the decade--live on. Books on the Panthers continue to be written, hip-hop artists continue to draw inspiration from them, and so many films are made about the Panthers that there is now an annual Black Panther film festival.
In "Framing the Black Panthers," cultural historian Jane Rhodes examines the extraordinary staying power of the Panthers in the American imagination by probing their relationship to the media. Rhodes argues that once the media and pop culture latched onto the small, militant group, the Panthers became adept at exploiting and manipulating this coverage--through pamphlets, buttons, posters, ubiquitous press appearances, and photo ops--pioneering a sophisticated version of mass media activism. Paradoxically, the news media participated in the government campaign to eradicate the Panthers while simultaneously elevating them to a celebrity status that remains long after their demise.
Lucidly written and featuring many never-before-published photographs, "Framing the Black Panthers" is a breakthrough reconsideration of a fascinating phenomenon that is sure to receive wide attention.