Organize Your Own

January 7-February 22, 2019
Organize Your Own


Fifty years ago the members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) made a historic call. Stokely Carmichael wrote “One of the most disturbing things about almost all white supporters of the movement has been that they are afraid to go into their own communities—which is where the racism exists—and work to get rid of it. They want to run from Berkeley to tell us what to do in Mississippi; let them look instead at Berkeley. . . . Let them go to the suburbs and open up freedom schools for whites.”

This exhibition and event series asks contemporary artists and poets to create new works in response to the history of white anti-racist organizing in working-class white communities in Philadelphia (October 4 Organization) and Chicago (the Young Patriots Organization) in keeping with the mandate from the Black Power movement to “organize your own” community against racism.

The exhibit features newly commissioned artwork by participants from around the country, including Amber Art & Design, Anna Martine Whitehead (with Thread Makes Blanket), Irina Contreras, Robby Herbst, Matt Neff, Mary Patten, Dave Pabellon, Helen Shiller's Keep Strong Magazine photo archives, Frank Sherlock (with Kelly Writers House), Society Editions collaboration with the poets of the Young Patriots Organization, Dan S. Wang, Rosten Woo.

The reading area of the exhibition includes the project catalog edited by Anthony Romero for Soberscove Books with reflections on this project from Fred Moten, Mark Nowak, Rasheedah Phillips, Bettina Escauriza, Mariam Williams and Jen Hofer. Also see online project documentation featured on by Irina Contreras, Anne Braden Institute, Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela, Salem Collo-Julin, and Thomas Graves with Jennifer Kidwell.

Curated by Daniel Tucker, the exhibition project also includes numerous events (panels, tours, performances and public projects), which have taken place throughout previous exhibition runs. Original funding for the project came from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (Philadelphia) and Columbia College (Chicago).

View Press Release.