Emancipation and the Antebellum period in the United State catalyzed the beginnings of access to freedoms not afforded to the Black Community. Scholars like Booker T. Washington and W.E.B DuBois philosophized regarding the most effective was to support the Black community in their integration into free society. While a majority of historical records document the academic and social changes of this time period, the artistic contributions of black artists are often overlooked. Drawing inspiration from the photo essay "African American Artists Before the Twentieth Century" published in the Oxford American Studies center, this collection addresses a gap in the art historical cannon, making visible artistic responses to a community's fight for justice in the face of violence and inequity.
This site explores the work of black artists through several art history movements dating from the earlhy 17th to late 19th century. The collection reveals the contributions black artists made to these movements despite their relatively unknown educational and exhibition coverage.
Exhibition images bring their contributions to life, offering descriptive data historically contexualizing each piece.