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African American Visual Arts from the Colonial Period to the Present

African American Visual Art from the Colonial Period to the Present is intended to introduce the student researcher to sources of information about visual arts created by African Americans over the past three centuries.

Films on Demand


African-American Basket Weaving (05:16)

From Title: Craft in America, Season 1

The art form of basketry originated in West Africa. African slaves continued to make baskets in the U.S., and slave owners came to see the value of the baskets. Today, the art form still unites many people in the African-American community.

Item Number: 43587
©  2007

Quilting (09:26)

From Title: Craft in America, Season 1

To celebrate the traditional art of quilting, quilters in a Mississippi town brought women together to learn the art. An African-American woman's quilt designed with scenes of her life earns her a trip to Washington, D.C. The Aids Quilt is the ultimate community quilting project.

Item Number: 43587
©  2007

Introduction: Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance (02:59)

From Title: Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance

In America's segregated society in the 1920s and 30s, blacks struggled to break into the art world. The William E. Harmon Foundation gave opportunities for black artists to have their work seen. The Newark Museum revived this collection.

Item Number: 44053
©  1994

A Choice of Weapons (03:16)

From Title: Reporters and Reporting

Gordon Parks was the first black photographer hired by Life Magazine. He describes learning to support himself at an early age. He uses art to fight racism, poverty and other social injustices.

Item Number: 2245
©  1
Combating Bigotry with Photography (02:36)
From Title: Reporters and Reporting

Gordon Parks shot fashion photography to earn money to buy better equipment. He travelled to the south side of Chicago and documented the poverty. He worked with the Farm Security Administration to complete his fellowship.

Item Number: 2245
Date Added: 06/14/2012
©  1989
Capturing the "Black Revolution" (02:37)
From Title: Reporters and Reporting

Gordon Parks was a photographer for Life Magazine during the 1960s. He paved the way for other African-Americans in the business by getting the truth while giving black militants a voice. He covered Martin Luther King Jr.'s death.

Item Number: 2245
Date Added: 06/14/2012
©  1989

Promoting Post-Black Artists (01:55)

From Title: TEDTalks: Thelma Golden—How Art Gives Shape to Cultural Change

Golden works to discover and define the young black artist, promoting artists she calls "post-black." By raising question of what it means to be African-American today, she seeks to create energy and community.

Item Number: 48508
©  2010

NY Times Review of New Documentary

Review: ‘Boom for Real’ Is a Beguiling Look at a Teenage Basquiat

Click on the image below:

Jean-Michel Basquiat is the subject of Sara Driver’s new documentary.CreditAlexis Adler/Magnolia Pictures

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