Narratives of African American Art and Identity
Section III Artists

Romare Bearden

Elizabeth Catlett

Allan Rohan Crite

Roy DeCarava

Aaron Douglas

David C. Driskell

James V. Herring

Wilmer Jennings

William H. Johnson

Stephanie Pogue

James A. Porter

Augusta Savage

Charles Sebree

Bill Taylor

James Lesesne Wells

Laura Wheeler Waring

Charles White

Ellis Wilson

Hale Woodruff

The Black Academy

Perhaps the least explored area of African American art history is the role of black institutions and individuals in nurturing the development of black artists. Scholars have tended to appraise the works and careers of black artists only to the extent they have been recognized by influential white individuals and institutions in Europe and America. But there existed what can be called the 'black academy,' a continuous flow of encouragement, patronage, instruction, and mentoring that black artists received from other African American individuals and institutions. Artists who gained prominence during the Harlem Renaissance became devoted teachers to the next generation of artists. Historically black colleges and institutions developed some of the most impressive collections of African American art. And throughout black communities, libraries, schools, YMCAs and YWCAs, societies, fraternities, and civic organizations provided patronage and forums for exhibitions and competitions during a time when such opportunities were rare or nonexistent for black artists in white mainstream institutions. Biographies of the artists, histories of significant mentor/teacher relationships, salons, workshops, and exhibitions by black institutions, all illustrate the importance of this support system in nurturing African American art.

This section includes works by those who provided the structure of the 'black academy,' as well as those who benefited from it—artists such as Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Claude Clark, Allen Crite, Wilmer Jennings, James Porter, Augusta Savage, Charles Sebree, Bill Taylor, James Lesesne Wells, Charles White, and Hale Woodruff.


David Driskell
Related Sites
III. The Black Academy