New West Oakland Mural Celebrates Black Joy and Women of Black Panther Party

An image of a Victorian home painted with baby blue and images of powerful Black women from the Black Panther Party painted on the outside of the house in West Oakland.
OAKLAND, CA – FEBRUARY 08: Muralist Rachel Wolfe Goldsmith paints a Black Panther Party mural on Jilchristina Vest’s home at the corner of Center and 9th Streets in West Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. (Photo by Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images).

A large-scale mural honoring women of the Black Panther Party was recently completed on a West Oakland home.

Ayodele Nzinga, Oakland Voices alumna, poet/writer, and founder of Lower Bottom Playaz, Inc., writes for the Guardian US:

Vest explains the mural is based on an archival photograph taken by Stephen Shames, and that the women in the photograph were originally unidentified. But since the mural unveiling, observers have helped name the figures as Delores Henderson, Angie Johnson, and Lauren Williams and her child. The striking “Panther” blue artwork already contains the names of 260 women, and the plan is for it to eventually stretch around Vests’s entire house, covering 2,000 sq ft, and that names of more women will continue to be added.

The towering work is the first public installation honoring the women of the party who Huggins, the longest serving female Black Panther, says have long been overlooked by the media and historians. She recalls how Black teenagers from all over the country were drawn to California to join the party; two-thirds were women who worked side-by-side with the men.

“This is something people do not know,” she says. “The history books do not carry us.”

Read the full article at the Guardian US.

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