In 1968, FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover vilified the Black Panthers as "the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States." That same year photographers Pirkle Jones and wife, Ruth-Marion Baruch, documented the Black Panthers for an exhibition at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. Their hope was to expose the public to the Panthers as they saw them--symbols of pride and strength--rather than the way they were being portrayed in the media. Jones and Baruch were given unprecedented access to the inner circle of the Black Panther Party. At intimate meetings, family gatherings and public demonstrations, we witness, through these incredibly moving photographs, a unique crusade for dignity and self-definition. Black Panthers is a historic documentation of this fascinating movement, so challenging and controversial to our culture that it was virtually erased from established texts and American history books.
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Ruth-Marion Baruch and Pirkle Jones attended the first photography class held at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, studying with Ansel Adams, Minor White, Homer Page, Edward Weston, and Dorothea Lange. They were married from 1949 until Baruch's death in 1997. Their work has been exhibited at galleries and museums around the country including The Art Institute of Chicago, The De Young Museum in San Francisco, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Amon Carter Museum in Texas, The Museum of Modern Art New York, the International Museum of Photography, and the Smithsonian Institution.
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