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Black Self-Empowerment from The Crisis to the Black Panthers, 1920s–1990s (Virtual Exhibition)

The history of new, radical art in the twentieth century and the history of struggle for social change, equality, and human rights are inexorably linked. This principle has long guided my curatorial and collecting practice. It is reflected in my focus on areas such as the Russian Revolution, Spanish Civil War, American Anti-War, and Pride. I acquired portraits, paintings, and political works by Black artists and activists over many years. Black Panther materials that I collected prior to 2014 were published here. A selection of these and other works were displayed in the exhibition Art as Activism: Graphic Art from the Merrill C. Berman Collection at the New York Historical Society in 2015. Since that time, my collection of works by Black artists has continued to grow and evolve. Recent events prompt us to present this modest survey, which offers a historical context, a sense of déjà vu, and simultaneous feelings of frustration and hope. -- Merrill C. Berman

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