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The Black Arts Movement

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.…

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Douglas, Aaron (1899–1979)

Aaron Douglas was an African American artist and educator often referred to as the father of “Black Art.” He was a leading figure of the…

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Hurston, Zora Neale (1891–1960)

Zora Neale Hurston was a writer and anthropologist. Since the Black Arts and Feminist movements of the 1960s and 1970s, she has been commonly acclaimed…

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Locke, Alain LeRoy (1885–1954)

Alain Locke was an American philosopher, editor, and critic whose influence helped to inscribe modernist aesthetics within the history of black artistry, which he defined…

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Harlem Nightclubs

In the 1920s and 1930s, Harlem became a major hub of New York City nightlife and a prolific space for African American artistic creation. It…

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Black Dance

Black dance is both an aesthetic and historical category. When the term first appeared in the late 1960s, it referred to dance forms grounded in…

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Woodruff, Hale A. (1900–1980)

Hale A. Woodruff was an African American painter and educator associated with the Negro Renaissance and later with the New York Abstract Expressionists. Woodruff studied…

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Ainslie, Bill (1934–1989)

Born in 1934 in Bedford, Eastern Cape, South Africa, William (Bill) Stewart Ainslie was a painter and educator, and the founder of a number of…

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Spiral

Spiral was a collective of African American artists that briefly formed in New York City between 1963 and 1966. Romare Bearden and Norman Lewis were…

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Tolson, Melvin B. (1898–1966)

Melvin Beaunorus Tolson was a poet, journalist, and teacher whose literary work examines the conditions for black life and art from the African diaspora through…

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Senghor, Léopold Sédar (1906–2001)

Poet, politician, and cultural theorist, Léopold Sédar Senghor was the first president of Senegal from 1960 to 1980. His devotion to the arts as a…

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Kumalo, Sydney (1935–1988)

Sydney Kumalo (1935–1988) was an important early black modernist working primarily in cast metal sculpture and drawing. As an artist and educator, Kumalo’s contributions were…

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Modern Negro Art

Modern Negro Art by James A. Porter (1905–1970) is a ground-breaking historical study of African American art from slavery to the early 20th century. The…

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Primus, Pearl (1919–1994)

Dancer and choreographer Pearl Primus made significant strides toward securing a vital role for dance artists of color in American modern dance. Sparked by the…

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Teatro da Experiência

Teatro da Experiência was a 275-seat theater housed in the Clube dos Artistas Modernos, a controversial club for ‘modern artists’ in São Paulo (Brazil) that…

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Boghossian, Alexander (Skunder) (1937–2003)

Alexander Boghossian, better known as Skunder, was one of the most prominent figures of African modernism. Born in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia in 1937 to…

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The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was a flourishing of artistic, intellectual, musical, and literary accomplishments by African Americans between the World Wars. The movement took its name…

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Van Vechten, Carl (1880–1964)

Carl Van Vechten (b. 17 June 1880, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; d. 21 December 1964, New York City) was an American writer who wrote about music,…

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Hughes, Langston (1902–1967)

Langston Hughes was one of the most accomplished, influential writers of the 20th century. Influenced by the inclusive ‘I’ of Walt Whitman and the musical…

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Pomare, Eleo (1937–2008)

Eleo Pomare was a dancer, choreographer, educator, and social activist who spent more than five decades contributing to the development of modern dance. As a…

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Free Jazz

Free Jazz emerged in the late 1950s out of the ongoing negotiation of the American jazz tradition. By the mid-twentieth century, this African-American musical tradition…

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McKayle, Donald (1930–)

In the mid-twentieth century, Donald McKayle became known for creating powerful modern dance works dealing with contemporary African-American experiences. He also helped break down color…

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Dalman, Elizabeth Cameron (1934--)

In a career that has spanned over sixty years, Elizabeth Cameron Dalman has been shaped by a politically progressive view of the role of dance…