The Moon Belongs to the People

Stephen Shames American

Not on view

From 1967 to 1973, while still a student at the University of California, Berkeley, Shames worked closely with the leaders of the Black Panther Party, documenting the revolutionary group's marches and rallies, as well as more intimate moments at Panther headquarters, schools, and free meal programs. He made this photograph of a poetic slogan -- "THE MOON BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE!!!" -- spray-painted on a wall above a rubble-strewn lot in Brooklyn, a few years after American astronauts planted a flag on the surface of the the Moon. The image beautifully encapsulates the tensions of the period, a time when the United States government was spending millions to send a few white men to the Moon while black Americans fought for civil rights in the midst of poverty and systemic racism.

The Moon Belongs to the People, Stephen Shames (American, born Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1947), Gelatin silver print

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