Comrade Sisters / In a Time of Panthers
a double book talk + signing
In concert with WNYC’s The Greene Space and in celebration of the books’ release, the Center for Black Visual Culture (CBVC) at the Institute of African American Affairs at NYU presents Comrade Sisters: Women of the Black Panther Party and In a Time of Panthers: Early Photographs, a book talk and signing featuring former Black Panther Party member Ericka Huggins and Regina Jennings, and photographers Stephen Shames and Jeffrey Henson Scales. The talk will be moderated by CBVC Director, University Professor, and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Dr. Deborah Willis.
Few photographers had the insider access Oakland native Jeffrey Henson Scales did around the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s. Capturing rare and intimate portraits of the movement’s leaders in action and in repose, In a Time of Panthers: Early Photographs explores Scales’ newly discovered, rich archive and is more urgent than ever in context of today’s ongoing struggle for racial justice. The book includes a foreword by CBVC Director, University Professor, and Chair, Department of Photography & Imaging at Tisch School of the Arts, Dr. Deborah Willis, and an essay by Dr. Waldo E. Martin Jr., Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley.
A long time coming, Ericka Huggins’ and Stephen Shames’ Comrade Sisters: Women of the Black Panther Party highlights the little-known story of the backbone of the Black Panther Party: the women. It’s estimated that six out of ten Panther Party members were women. While these remarkable women of all ages and diverse backgrounds were regularly making headlines agitating, protesting, and organizing, off-stage these same women were building communities and enacting social justice, providing food, housing, education, healthcare, and more. Comrade Sisters is their story; the book combines photos by celebrated Panther Party photographer, Stephen Shames, with moving text by early Party member and leader, Ericka Huggins. Most importantly, the book includes contributions from over fifty former women members – some well-known, others not – who vividly recall their personal experiences from that time. Other texts include a foreword by Angela Davis and an afterword by Alicia Garza.
Huggins, Shames, and Scales will be joined by original member of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, poet, author, and university professor, Regina Jennings.
In the age of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter, the issues and solutions raised in these powerful books are as relevant today as when the Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland, California on October 15, 1966.
Presented by WNYC’s The Greene Space and the Center for Black Visual Culture at the Institute of African American Affairs, and cosponsored by the Department of Photography & Imaging, NYU Tisch School of the Arts; NYU Center for Media, Culture, and History; NYU Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation; and the NYU Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.
Space is limited for the in-person event. RSVP is required.
You may RSVP for in-person or virtual attendance by clicking on the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/comrade-sisters-in-a-time-of-panthers-a-double-book-talk-signing-tickets-432147634207
Jeffrey Henson Scales is an independent photographer and photography editor at The New York Times. When he was 13 years old, Henson Scales began making photographs of the Oakland Black Panthers. These photographs – of leaders like Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, Eldridge & Kathleen Cleaver and other political activists of the 1960’s – were regularly published in The Black Panther Paper from 1968 to 1971. At the age of 14, Mr. Scales’ work first appeared in a mainstream national news publication, Time magazine. He later became a successful editorial photographer, while also working in the entertainment industry on record covers, film posters and publicity campaigns. Henson Scales photographs have been exhibited at museums throughout the United States and Europe and have appeared in numerous photography magazines, books and anthologies, as well as in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The City Museum of New York, The George Eastman House and The Baltimore Museum of Art. He is the principal partner of the Harlem-based photographic enterprise, Henson Scales Productions, which includes the photo archive, HSP Archive. Some of his archival images can be seen and read about on his “Time Variants” Tumblr site, where he also tells some of the stories behind the photographs. He is currently working on a visual memoir project called, “The Archive Project.”
Ericka Huggins is an educator, Black Panther Party member, former political prisoner, human rights advocate, and poet. For 50 years, Ericka has used her life experiences in service to community. From 1973-1981, she was director of the Black Panther Party’s Oakland Community School. From 1990-2004, Ericka managed HIV/AIDS Volunteer and Education programs. She also supported innovative mindfulness programs for women and youth in schools, jails and prisons. Ericka was Professor of Sociology and African American Studies from 2008 through 2015 in the Peralta Community College District. From 2003 to 2011, she was Professor of Women and Gender Studies at California State Universities- East Bay and San Francisco. Ericka is a Racial Equity Learning Lab facilitator for WORLD TRUST Educational Services. She curates conversations focused on the individual and collective work of becoming equitable in all areas of our daily lives. Additionally, she facilitates workshops on the benefit of self care in sustaining social change.
Regina Jennings is an original member of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, poet, author, and university professor. She has authored at least 25 academic articles and has written six books, her latest, Poetry and the Black Panther Party: from Ancestral Memory, Morphogenetic Fields to Hip Hop and Panther Poems; Poetry of a Sister Panther. Her book Malcolm X and the Poetics of Haki Madhubuti (McFarland, 2006) won an international book award. Currently she is writing a poetry book with brief essays tentatively titled, Killers and Cutthroats: Blacks Fighting Back in Race Defense.
Stephen Shames uses photography to raise awareness of social issues, with a particular focus on child poverty and race. Steve’s photographs are in the permanent collections of 40 major museums, including: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery; Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture; Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas, Austin; Metropolitan Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; George Eastman Museum; Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Foundation Sindika Dokolo, Angola. Steve is author of 15 monographs including: Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers (Abrams, 2016); Bronx Boys (University of Texas); Outside the Dream, Pursuing the Dream, The Black Panthers (Aperture); Stephen Shames: Une Retrospective (Maison de la Photographie Robert Doisneu de Gentilly | Red Eye); Bronx Boys (FotoEvidence e-book); Free Angela, We Are America, I Like You Too, Some People (Quiddity, 2021); Facing Race (Moravian College); Transforming Lives (Star Bright Books); and Free to Grow (Columbia University). He received numerous awards including the Kodak Crystal Eagle Award for Impact in Photojournalism for Outside the Dream. American Photo named Steve one of the 15 Most Underrated Photographers. PBS named Hine, Wolcott, and Shames as photographers whose work promotes social change. Steve is represented as an art photographer by Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris and Steven Kasher Gallery, New York; and as a photojournalist by Polaris Images, New York.
Deborah Willis, Ph.D, is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and has affiliated appointments with the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Social & Cultural and the Institute of Fine Arts where she teaches courses on Photography & Imaging, iconicity, and cultural histories visualizing the black body, women, and gender. She is also the director of NYU’s Center for Black Visual Culture/Institute for African American Affairs. She is the recipient of many fellowships and awards, including, but not limited to: the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and Richard D. Cohen Fellowship in African and African American Art, Hutchins Center, Harvard University. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received awards from the College Art Association for Writing Art History (2021) and the Outstanding Service Award from the Royal Photographic Society in the UK. Willis is the author of The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship, Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present; and more. Her work has been exhibited widely and she has curated numerous shows. Exhibitions include: Monument LabStaying Power, Philadelphia; 100Years/100Women, Park Avenue Armory, In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity, African American Museum Philadelphia; etc. She holds honorary degrees from Pratt Institute and the Maryland Institute, College of Art and is currently researching two projects on photography and the black arts movement and artists reimaging history.