Malik Edwards (b.1944) is a graphic artist who, for a time, served as the head of the Black Panther Party’s Washington, D.C. regional branch. He regularly designed posters, flyers, and magazines for pro-Black events and anti-drug campaigns. He also taught art and worked as a drug counselor.
Raised in a small southeastern Louisiana town called Phoenix, Edwards discovered his talent for drawing at an early age. Encouraged by his father who also had an interest in sketching, he often drew Batman, Superman, and other superheroes as Black, imagining himself in those roles. After graduating from high school, Edwards joined the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) in 1963 and served in Vietnam. When he returned from Vietnam in 1966, Edwards’s artistic talents were recognized by an officer, and he was assigned to work as a Corps illustrator. He illustrated USMC technical manuals, and like he did with his superheroes as a youth, intentionally incorporated people with distinguishably Black features in his designs. About this time, the Black Power movement was growing in California and Edwards was attracted to it even while in the Corps, which he left in 1970.
After leaving the USMC, Edwards moved to Northern California and trained as an apprentice for the Black Panther Party’s Minister of Culture, Emory Douglas. Under Douglas’s tutelage, Edwards learned the technical details of drawing, printing, and layout. In 1971 he was transferred to the Washington, D.C. Party office where he worked until 1973. There he met and worked alongside Gayle “Asali” Dickson, another artist and Party member who had an influence on the development of his art. During this time, Edwards also wrote articles and created art for the cover, centerfold, and back page of the Party’s newspaper, The Black Panther.
Edwards left the Black Panther Party in 1973 but stayed in Washington, D.C. until 1993, pursuing various jobs and exhibiting his art in multiple area galleries. He returned to California in 1993 and continued to pursue his art while he worked as a graphic designer, art teacher, and drug counselor. He currently works at a high school in Oakland, California as a Restorative Practice Coordinator.”
 The website of Black Fire Art. “Malik Edwards.” Accessed March 1, 2022. https://blackfiremusic.com/artists-bios
 Phillips, Mary and Le-Blanc-Ernest, Angela. “The Hidden Narratives: Recovering and (Re) Visioning the Community Activism of Men in the Black Panther Party.” Spectrum, 5(1), 63-89. 2016, Trustees of Indiana University and The Ohio State University. Accessed on March 17, 2022. https://iphpcom.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/the-hidden-narratives.pdf
 Zhibit Artist website. “Malik Edwards, About” Accessed on March 5, 2022 https://www.zhibit.org/profile/malik
This artist’s biography was written by Phyllis Geraghty, a writer with professional experience in the public relations, education, health, and non-profit sectors.
Illustrations by Malik Edwards
Coleman, Jeffrey Lamar. Words of Protest, Words of Freedom: Poetry of the American Civil Rights Movement and Era. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012.
“New Haven: The ‘Testimony’ Begins.” The Black Panther, March 27, 1971.
Shih, Bryan. The Black Panthers: Portraits from an Unfinished Revolution. New York: Nation Books, 2016.
“You Can’t Be Black and Navy, Too.” The Black Panther, November 16, 1972.