By John Gilman
In 1967, there were major race riots in over 40 cities across America, including Newark, Detroit, Chicago, and Oakland. An unusual exhibit commemorating these devastating events, and also the 50th anniversaries of the founding of the Black Panther Party (1966, in Oakland) and the White Panther Party (1968, in Detroit), opened in the East Village at the Fortnight Institute.
Extended through December 29th at the Institute at 60 East 4th Street (between 2nd Avenue and the Bowery), the exhibit—put together by the rare book dealer and art curator Arthur Fournier—is entitled “The Spirit of the People Will Be Stronger Than The Pig’s Technology.” It features an astonishing collection of rare and seldom seen revolutionary leftist posters, broadsides, books, and ephemera from 1964 to 1970, including every issue of Guerilla: Free Newspaper of the Streets, founded in January 1967 in Detroit and New York City, and the Fifth Estate magazine.
A panel discussion at NYU’s Center for Experimental Humanities was held in November in conjunction with the exhibit on poetry, revolution, and race during the late 1960s and in our own time featuring discussions of such writers as Allen Ginsberg, Joel Oppenheimer, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Huey Newton, Diane di Prima, H. Rap Brown (Hubert Gerold Brown), and Michael McClure.
Highlights at the Fortnight Institute include chapbooks and paperbacks from leftist militant poets of the era, and a rare broadside featuring ‘Eldridge Cleaver for President.’ FBI ‘WANTED’ posters for Angela Yvonne Davis (a one-time Villager who went to the Little Red Schoolhouse on Bleecker Street and ended up in the New York Women’s House of Detention on Greenwich Avenue for a while), who was ‘wanted’ for interstate flight, murder, and kidnapping; and H. Rap Brown, ‘wanted’ for interstate flight, arson, and inciting to riot, are also included in the fascinating exhibit.