Emory Douglas worked as the revolutionary artist and minister of culture for the Black Panther Party in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1967 through the early 1980s. In addition to creating iconic posters and postcards, a key part of Douglas' responsibilities included art direction, design, and illustration for the organization's newspaper, The Black Panther. His art-and-design concepts were featured on the front and back pages of the newspaper and reflected the politics of the Black Panther Party and the concerns of the community. Douglas’ work was characterized by strong graphic images of young African American men, women, and children. He used the newspaper’s popularity to spur people to action, portraying the poor with empathy and as being unapologetically ready to struggle for basic human rights. During his tenure, Douglas produced powerful images to depict the reality of racial injustice in America and to promote the party's ideologies. Douglas continues to create art with social and political concerns that transcends borders.
Douglas’ work has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions including the 2008 Biennale of Sydney; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; The African American Art & Culture Complex, San Francisco; The Richmond Art Center, Richmond, California; The Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK; Museum of Contemporary Art Denver; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, Nebraska; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), among numerous others. A retrospective of his work was shown at Casa Republicana, Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogota, Colombia, in 2015–16. Douglas’ work has been featured in numerous publications, including Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas, which provides a comprehensive overview of his graphic artwork from the 1960s and ‘70s. In 2015, Douglas received the American Institute of Graphic Art lifetime achievement medal.