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Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/

0000-0002-0504-8113

AccessType

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type

dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Afro-American Studies

Year Degree Awarded

2022

Month Degree Awarded

September

First Advisor

James Smethurst

Second Advisor

Britt Rusert

Third Advisor

Kimberly Juanita Brown

Subject Categories

Africana Studies | Art Practice | Cultural History | Women's History

Abstract

The Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s was undoubtedly one of the most pivotal and prolific cultural movements of the twentieth century. Encompassing a variety of artistic genres, the Black Arts Movement not only reframed the function of Black art and literature during this period but also revolutionized the ways in which it was consumed by Black folks across the diaspora. Where We At?!: Black Women Cultural Workers and Arts Activism in the Era of Black Power examines the formation of Black arts institutions by Black women artists. Collectively these institutions represent an important history of Black community art organizations, in which the key figures are Black women. As artists and activists, these women worked to ensure Black art was accessible to Black communities.

At its core, the significance of this project is about making the invisibilized labor of Black women artists legible within the context of Black Power activism. When discussing the cultural impact of the Black Power era, scholars often focus on the contributions of prominent literary figures, visual artists, and cultural nationalists who are almost always male. While these analyses provide valuable insight into the political and cultural dimensions of the Black Arts Movement (BAM) they fail to provide a comprehensive understanding of how Black Arts activism functioned on the ground, specifically as it was carried out by Black women. Unfortunately, the organizing efforts of Black women artists are largely unknown even within histories of the Black Arts Movement. While the artists that emerged to prominence are extremely important and worthy of study, it is equally as important to acknowledge the people that organized on their behalf, especially since most of them were also artists. Placing Black women artists/organizers at the center of this project allows for the recognition of individuals whose main contributions may not have hinged on their artistry alone. Where We At!? aims to extend the scope of histories of the Black Arts Movement (BAM) to include the contributions of Black women artists/organizers within the political projects of the Black Power era of the 1960s and 1970s.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.7275/30290043

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