[News] Frank Cieciorka has died.

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Nov 25 18:32:25 EST 2008

A great movement artist and friend of the Freedom 
Archives, Frank Cieciorka, has died. He will be 
missed­his work goes marching on!


Frank Cieciorka, 69, Artist and Activist

             Frank Cieciorka, a nationally 
recognized watercolor painter, political artist, 
activist, and author who created many of the 
iconic images of the 1960s, including the 
clenched fist and the black panther, died on 
November 24, 2008 at his home in Alderpoint, 
California. The cause was emphysema.

             Born April 26, 1939, Frank grew up 
in the upstate New York factory town of Johnson 
City where his father worked at a grocery 
store.  Frank began work at the age of 14 as a 
bowling alley pin-boy and then on the assembly 
line at the local shoe factory. Recognized since 
childhood for his artistic talent, he enrolled in 
the fine arts program at San Jose State College 
in 1957, where he became an anti-war activist, 
protesting military interventions in Vietnam and the Dominican Republic.

             On graduating in 1964, Frank 
volunteered for Freedom Summer in Mississippi and 
later was hired as a field secretary for the 
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). 
He helped organize African-Americans to register 
to vote and assisted in organizing the racially 
integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, 
which challenged the all-white official 
Democratic Party. Frank also wrote and 
illustrated Negroes in American History­A Freedom 
Primer, taught in Freedom Schools throughout the 
south. The book is still used as a resource text.

             Frank continued his political 
activism in San Francisco, where he became 
artistic director of The Movement, a national 
newspaper of community, anti-war, and civil 
rights organizing.  His art also appeared in many 
other publications, posters, and underground 
papers, including The Realist. Among the powerful 
images he created for The Movement were full-size 
front-page portraits of Nat Turner and John 
Brown. His political artistry there and at 
People’s Press inspired a generation of activist artists.

             At the end of the Sixties, tired of 
city life, Frank became an avid backpacker. In 
1972 he purchased a half-acre plot in rural 
Alderpoint, where he designed and built his own 
home and studio, and turned to watercolor 
painting. His works celebrate the southern 
Humboldt County countryside, the beauty of the 
female figure in natural settings, and ordinary people doing what they do.

             He is survived by his wife, the 
painter Karen Horn, with whom he enjoyed over 25 
years of love and artistic dialogue. He is also 
survived by his step-daughter, Zena Goldman Hunt 
and her family, and by his brother, James 
Cieciorka, and his wife, Jean. Family and friends 
rejoice in having shared Frank’s life: a 
testimony to political and artistic passion.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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