IV

Narratives of African American Art and Identity
Section IV Artists

Romare Bearden

John Biggers

Elizabeth Catlett

Claude Clark

Eldzier Cortor

David C. Driskell

Melvin Edwards

Earl Hooks

Jacob Lawrence

Jerome Meadows

James Phillips

Charles White




Radical Politics

While African American artists engaged issues of identity and racism in their art throughout the twentieth century, the 1950s and '60s witnessed a heightened politicization. The increasingly radical and aggressive push for civil rights in the black communities was mirrored in the art of these decades. The artists explored themes of the black urban experience, black labor, confrontation and resistance, and racial violence. Images directly related to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, depictions of important black leaders such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and documentation of racism's effect on black America were integral concerns for African American artists of this period who vigorously participated in the discourse on identity and racism.

Works such as Bearden's Street Scene, Catlett's The Black Woman Speaks, Lawrence's We Declare Ourselves Independent, White's I Have a Dream, as well as works by John Biggers, Eldzier Cortor, Earl Hooks, James Phillips are included in this section.

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