Black Panther Party Chairman Bobby Seale (1968) by Jeffrey Henson Scales

 
On View presents images from noteworthy exhibitions
 

FOUNDED 55 YEARS AGO, the legacy of the Black Panther Party is being explored and celebrated this fall with art and images often taking center stage. A bronze bust of Huey P. Newton by Dana King was unveiled in Oakland, Calif., the city where the Panthers were established in October 1966. Emory Douglas, minister of culture for the Black Panthers, installed his “Reparations” mural (2007/2021) at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. At Claire Oliver Gallery in Harlem, long lost black-and-white images by Jeffrey Henson Scales are on view. “In a Time of Panthers, The Lost Negatives” is the photographer’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.

A photography editor at the New York Times who teaches photojournalism at New York University, Scales grew up in Oakland and picked up a camera early. His parents were activists and through their connections and his rising interest in documentary photography, he developed ties and became a seamless presence around the local Black Panther Party in his early teens. He captured images of the organization and its leaders primarily during the late 1960s. Forgotten until 2018, the negatives were discovered after his mother died and the contents of the family home were sorted. After the gallery show, a museum exhibition is in the works.

“I hadn’t seen these images since the 1960s until recently and was struck by not only my origin story as a photographer but also the new urgency these images and the Civil Rights Movement takes on in the context of today’s ongoing struggle for racial justice,” Scales said about the trove of historic material. “These images serve as a time capsule of sorts, not only of my adolescence and political awakening, but also for the country whose ongoing struggle with racial inequality, police brutality and resistance is as urgent and timely as ever.” CT

 

“Jeffrey Henson Scales: In a Time of Panthers, The Lost Negatives,” on view at Claire Oliver Gallery in Harlem, from Sept. 16-Nov. 6, 2021

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JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Black Panthers with posters of Black Panther Party Minister of Defense Huey P. Newton at rally outside the Alameda County Courthouse, Oakland, Calif., during Newton’s trial, September 1968 (gelatin silver print). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Black Panther Party member Captain Bobby Bowens of the Richmond office at a Free Huey rally at DeFremery Park, Oakland Calif., 1968 (gelatin silver print). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Spectators and Black Panther Party members at a Free Huey rally at DeFremery Park, Oakland, Calif., 1968. | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Kathleen Cleaver, National Communications Secretary of The Black Panther Party speaking at the United Front Against Fascism (UFAF), an anti-fascist conference organized by the Black Panther Party and held in Oakland, Calif., from July 18-21, 1969 (gelatin silver print). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Eldridge Cleaver speaking at a rally in Berkeley, Calif., 1968 (gelatin silver print). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Black Panthers at a Free Huey rally at DeFremery Park, Oakland, Calif., 1968 (gelatin silver print, 22 x 14.75 inches / 55.9 x 37.5 cm). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Panther Party supporters outside the Alameda County Courthouse, Oakland, Calif., September 1968 (gelatin silver print). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Stokely Carmichael (aka Kwame Ture) waiting in line outside the Alameda County Courthouse to attend the trial of Huey P. Newton, the Black Panther Party Minister of Defense who was then on trial for the murder of an Oakland police officer, 1968 (gelatin silver print). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Panther Party security outside the Alameda County Courthouse, Oakland, Calif., September 1968 (gelatin silver print). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Black Panther Party Chairman, Bobby Seale walking by Black Panthers rallying outside Alameda County Courthouse during the trial of Huey Newton, 1968 (gelatin silver print, 22 x 14.75 inches / 55.9 x 37.5 cm). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Kathleen Cleaver, National Communications Secretary of The Black Panther Party at a rally at The University of California, Berkeley 1968 (gelatin silver print, 14.75 x 22 inches / 37.5 x 55.9 cm). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, George Gaines (Baby D) Captain of the Black Panther Party Marin County branch, speaking at the United Front Against Fascism (UFAF), an anti-fascist conference organized by the Black Panther Party and held in Oakland, Calif., from July 18-21, 1969 (gelatin silver print). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Free Huey Rally, San Francisco, 1969 (gelatin silver print). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Bobby Seale, Black Panther Party co-founder and chairman, speaking to media in Oakland, Calif., 1969 (gelatin silver print). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Bobby Seale, Black Panther Party Co-Founder and Chairman speaking at the United Front Against Fascism (UFAF), an anti-fascist conference organized by the Black Panther Party and held in Oakland, Calif., from July 18-21, 1969 (gelatin silver print). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery; Photograph of Bobby Seale by Jeffrey Henson Scales used in a collage on the cover of the The Black Panther newspaper (March 31, 1969), designed by Emory Douglas, minister of culture and art director for the Party’s newspaper. | Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 


JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Huey P. Newton Black Panther Party Minister of Defense, speaking to the media upon his release from prison on Aug. 5, 1970, at the offices of his attorney, Charles R. Garry (gelatin silver print). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 

TOP IMAGE: JEFFREY HENSON SCALES, Bobby Seale, chairman of the Black Panther Party, speaking at a Free Huey rally at DeFremery Park, Oakland, Calif., 1968 (gelatin silver print). | © Jeffrey Henson Scales, Courtesy the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery

 

READ MORE about the discovery of Jeffrey Henson Scales’s more than 50-year-old negatives in The New York Times

 

BOOKSHELF
Jeffrey Henson Scales is working on a forthcoming book about his lost and found negatives of the Black Panther Party and the images captured during the height of the organization’s activity. Published in 2016, “House” showcases Henson’s photographs of House’s barbershop in Harlem. “Contact Sheet 161: That Year of Living” features images Henson made the year after he was diagnosed with and successfully treated for prostate cancer. For years he had focused on photo editing and the experience, and encouragement from his wife, led him to pick up his camera again. Also consider, “Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas” and “Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers” by Bobby Seale with photographs by Stephen Shames.

 

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