The Black Arts Movement By Doss, Crystal Gorham
The Black Arts movement (BAM) spanned the period from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s and is considered an artistic extension of the Black Power movement. BAM writers aimed to produce explicitly political art and saw the artist as a political activist. Though it began in New York, the BAM was a national movement. It was also an intellectual and academic movement that changed how African American literature was valued and studied. BAM writers focused on telling the stories of the past, recovering the work of formerly unknown artists, and exploring the diversity of the contemporary Black experience. BAM artists frequently used African American Vernacular English. The BAM included authors of drama, poetry and prose. Key figures in this movement included Amiri Baraka (1934–2014), Sonia Sanchez (1934–), Nikki Giovanni (1943–), Maya Angelou (1928–2014), Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000) and Larry Neal (1937–1981). The BAM is unique among modernist artistic movements because of its political and social engagement. It influenced writers like Toni Morrison (1931–) and Alice Walker (1944–), and it inspired minority writers from other historically oppressed groups.