Black arts movement

DEFINITION

An expression of discontent and aspirations of Black America during the turbulent sixties and seventies, it followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Many African Americans became more convinced that the strategies of the Civil Rights Movement were not enough to meet their needs nor deal with the increased hostility of white America. Thus, Black America shifted its interest from the Civil Rights movement with its emphasis on integration and equality to Black Liberation with its emphasis on nationalism, self-determination and separation, socially and culturally. As sensitive members of the black community, some black artists decided to join the struggle, in what came to known as the Black Arts Movement. Larry Neal defined the Black Arts Movement as being radically opposed to any concept of the artist that alienates him from his community. Black Arts is the aesthetic and spiritual sister of the Black Power concept. As such, it envisions an art that speaks directly to the needs and aspirations of Black America. It proposes a separate symbolism, mythology, critique and iconology. The distinctive visions that unite the art of Mari Evans and Nelson Stevens exemplify the spirit of the movement. Source: Editorial Review, "Resistance, Insurgence and Identity" by Robert L. Douglas, Amazon.com

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