24 x 30 inches
The Black Panther Party was originally founded in 1966 in Oakland, California, by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. The party’s original purpose was to patrol African American neighbourhoods to protect residents from acts of police brutality. In addition to challenging police brutality, the Black Panther Party launched more than 35 Survival Programs and provided community help, such as education, tuberculosis testing, legal aid, transportation assistance, ambulance service, and the manufacture and distribution of free shoes to poor people. Of particular note was the Free Breakfast for Children Program (begun in January 1969) that spread to every major American city with a Black Panther Party chapter.
In 1909 when the Lincoln penny was introduced, it was the first American coin to feature the likeness of an actual person as opposed to the personifications of “liberty” appearing on earlier designs. Abraham Lincoln depicted on this currency is symbolic of the founding fathers concept, and deals with foundational thoughts & constructs. Pulled more deeply in the meaning, we can say that seeing pennies (particularly heads-up) is a message for us to re-evaluate our founding beliefs. We may ask ourselves what core beliefs do we have, and are they serving us appropriately? Consider the penny as a symbol of beginnings as it holds the vibration of number One. The meaning of One primarily deals with strong will, positivity, pure energy. The number One reflects new beginnings, and purity. The symbolic meaning of the penny (number One) is further clarified when we understand that One represents both kinds of action, physical and mental. Copper is also considered a solar emblem, and corresponds with the radiant features of the sun. This combined with a myriad of other meanings, the symbolic meaning of the penny deals with bright ideas, fresh perspectives, and incorporating these new thoughts with our existing framework. By combining the old with the new we find our lives expanded and new directions to our path.
This piece is currently on display at Prairie View A&M Northwest Houston Center located at 9449 Grant Rd. Houston, TX 77070, through April 14th 2019 for the Houston Museum of African American of Culture’s Over There Some Place exhibition.