The Case for Reparations

Edward Mitchell Bannister, Apple Trees in a Meadow,
c. 1890











The New Negro Movement
1917 - 1935
  • Booker T. Washington ed., A New Negro for a New Century, 1900
    • Founder of Tuskegee Institute
  • Emphasized industrial training as a means of cultivating dignity and economic independence
  • Argued that economic self-reliance had to come before demands for social equality
James Van der Zee, c. 1920s











Harlem on My Mind exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, 1968

James Van Der Zee, Couple with a Cadillac, 1932

James Van Der Zee, The Last Good-bye, 1923











Archibald Motley, Self Portriat, 1920

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Black Belt, 1934.










Primitivism = astyle of art that mimics the art of children or untrained artists; a mode of aesthetic idealization that either emulates or aspires to recreate "primitive" experience. In Western art, primitivism typically has borrowed from non-Western or prehistoric people perceived to be "primitive"


Alain Locke "sought the 'spiritual emancipation' of African Americans through visual art...believ[ing] that the fine arts were a potent vehicle for reconfiguring th eimage and identity of blacks in America, an identity bogged down by degrading Jim Crow stereotypes" (Farrington, 118).

Palmer Hayden, Fétiche et Fleurs, 1926











James Lesesne Wells, Twin Heads, c. 1929

James Latimer Allen, Portrait of James Lesesne Wells, c. 1930










Aaron Douglas, Crucifixion, in James Weldon Johnson's, God's Trombones, 1927

Aaron Douglas, Aspects of Negro Life: The Negro in an African Setting, 1934












Aaron Douglas, Aspects of Negro Life: From Slavery through Reconstruction, 1934











The Great Migration
"Some historians differentiate between a first Great Migration (1916–1940), which saw about 1.6 million people move from mostly rural areas in the South to northern industrial cities, and a Second Great Migration (1940–1970), which began after the Great Depression and brought at least 5 million people to the North and West" (Wikipedia).
  • "Over a period of ten years, 90,000 blacks moved into Harlem and 120,000 whites moved out" (Farrington, 117).











  • Born in 1892 to Methodist Minister who opposed her interest in art
    • Seventh of fourteen children
  • Married in 1907 and had daughter following year
    • John T. Moore died
  • Married John Savage in 1915
    • Won an award at county fair and was encouraged to enroll in art school
    • Left her daughter in the care of her parents and moved to NY to attend Cooper Union 1919
    • Divorced in 1920s
  • Married Robert L. Poston in 1923
    • Poston died in 1924
  • While studying at Cooper Union, in 1923 applied for travel abroad scholarship to France and was rejected because of her race.
    • "This girl is working her hands off to get out of this country so that she can get some sort of training" (Du Bois).
    • Able to study in France with Julius Rosenwald and Carnegi fellowships in 1929
  • 1939 won commission for NY World's Fair
  • 1945 Retreats to Catskill Mountains to live with daughter and her family
Augusta Savage, Gamin, 1929. Painted plaster.











Augusta Savage, John Henry, 1940

Augusta Savage, Head of Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois, 1956. Cast plaster.











"Dubois "feared that black writers were jeopardizing the civil rights cause by depicting the 'Negro underworld' versus the Talented Tenth to appease white patronage. He espoused his own view in ["Criteria of Negro Art"], in which he insisted that 'all art is propaganda'—a tool for race uplift" (

Josephine Baker
Bessie Smith

Paul Robeson

Essie Robeson


Oscar Micheux, Within Our Gates, 1919


Oscar Micheux, Murder in Harlem, 1935