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Black Power Exhibition Resource Guide: Popular Culture

Resources to complement the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture's "Black Power!' exhibition (2017). Guide by Amanda Belantara.

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Athletes joined artists and community organizers in linking Black Power to their everyday experiences. Muhammad Ali was one of the major figures to address how his athletics reflected his abilities as a black man to think independently of a white sports industrial complex. The Olympic Committee for Human
 Rights used the 1968 Olympics as a platform to support the agenda of the Black Power Conferences. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar refused to play on the Men's Olympic Basketball Team to protest inequality and racism.

Martial arts schools served as critical sites for artistic production, resistance, and empowerment. Organizations such as the Congress of African People, US organization, the Nation of Islam, and the Black Panther Party practiced martial arts to teach body development and strengthening, self-defense, and creativity. Images of black martial artists also became popular on screen due to the genre called Blaxploitation, Hollywood’s version of black urban life.

-Maryam Aziz, University of Michigan



BaadAsssss cinema: a bold look at 70's blaxploitation films by Isaac Julien
James Brown. Say it Loud
The 1968 Olympics Black Power salute was an act of protest by the African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City