The Master's Tools
Don't forget to add your project to the appropriate Scalar page!
AH 329 Scalar Compendium
Howardena Pindell, Untitled 7, 1973

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Michelle Wallace argues that, “vision, visuality, and visibility are part of a problematic in African American discourse, and that problematic has much to do with related issues of gender, sexuality, postmodernism, and popular culture” (186). Further, Wallace asserts that “the problem takes many forms” including “the problem of a white-dominated art world that does not usually conceptualize blacks as visual producers” (186).

Anita Hill being questioned during Senate confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, 1991.











What are art history's (the master's) tools?
  • What causes us frustration (as viewers, students, and writers)?
  • What stops us from considering art further?
  • What have we been taught to fear? What are we afraid of?
  • Who is not included?
"What does it mean when the tools of a racist patriarchy are used to examine the fruits of the same patriarchy?" (Audre Lorde)











Discuss: boycotts, non-violent demonstrations, seperatist arguments, and the demands of Black folks


Historic Context
1909 Founding of the NAACP

1952 Malcolm X joins the Nation of Islam promoting that: black people are the original people of the world; white people are "devils; Blacks are superior to whites; and the demise of the white race was imminent.
1954 Supreme Court rules in Brown v. The Board of Education that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional
  The ruling over turned the principal of "seperate but equal" under Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
  Massive resistence to integration orders in southern states resulting in closure of public schools and the formation of numerous white Christian public schools
1955 Fourteen-year-old Chicago boy, Emmett Till is murdered by Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam in Mississippi. An all white jury quickly acquits Bryant and Milam. In 2007, Carolyn Bryant admitted that Emmett had not whistled at her.

Rosa Parks on a Montgomery bus the day Montgomery's public transportation system was legally integrated, December 21, 1956.

Emmett's mother, Mamie Till, insists on an open casket at her son's funeral. Jet magazine publishes an image of Till's body.
Fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin (in March) and Rosa Parks (in December) refuse to give up their seats on a bus for a white man launching the successful Montgomery Bus boycott
The bus boycott's spokesman, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would become a leader in the Civil Rights Movement
1957 Little Rock Nine sue Little Rock, Arkansas to attend public school. Because of vitriol and violence they were escorted to campus and between classes by the military. Only one of the students graduated from Central High School as Little Rock closed its public schools to avoid integration the following year.

1958 - 1960 Sit-ins inspired by Ghandi's "non-cooperation" tactics at lunch counters, parks, beaches, libraries, theaters, museums, and other public facilities
1961 John F. Kennedy becomes youngest elected President of the U.S.
Freedom Rides across state lines leading to the Interstate Commerce Commission ending segregated buses, drinking fountains, lunch counters, bathrooms, and entrances/exits.

Elizabeth Eckford arrives for
school at Central High School

SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) organizes voter registration drives
1963 Medgar Evers, NAACP Field Officer murdered by the KKK
  Up to 300,000 participants in the March on Washington demand: meaningful civil rights laws; federal works program; full and fair employment; decent housing; the right to vote; and adequate integrated education.
Addie Mae Collins (14), Cynthia Wesley (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Carol Denise McNair (11) are killed by members of the KKK in a bombing (the third in 11 days) during Sunday services at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Robert Chambliss was cleared of murder, and FBI Director J Edgar Hoover blocked the prosecution of three others. The case against Chambliss was reopened in 1977, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Assassination of President Kennedy
1964 Civil Rights Act
Malcolm X breaks with the nation of Islam and meets with MLK to join forces in the Civil Rights cause
1965 Bloody Sunday violent suppression of Civil Rights demonstrators
Voting Rights Act
Assassination of Malcolm X
1966 Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale found the Black Panther Party
1968 Assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
In 1960, there were a total of 53,336 Black voters registered in the state of Alabama; in 1990, there were 537,285, a tenfold increase; in 2020, with more than 75% of eligible voters registred, Alabama has the eighth highest percentage of registration in the U.S. (CA is third lowest at 52%), including 874,406 active registered Black voters.











Romare Bearden, The Dove, 1964.
Romare Bearden, Black Manhattan, 1969. Collage on board.