During last week’s class session, I found myself quieter than usual. Our topic was something that normally I would be very talkative about: feminism. However this was not just feminism, it was black feminism. I’ve been aware for quite a while that black feminism has many differences from mainstream, or “white feminism.” And while feminism […]Read more "Speaking with One Voice, Or One Voice Speaking Over Others?"
Museums frequently struggle with how best to include community voices in their institutions. This is particularly problematic when (largely white) museum staffs want to address issues of identity and race. One of the ways museums have dealt with this challenge is to collaborate with partners or “cultural ambassadors.” These partnerships situate museums more as facilitators […]Read more "A Conscious Collaboration"
Photographs are powerful objects that take us back to certain memories and places, even if we do not know anyone in the photo. Lorna Simpson uses the power of images in recalling memories in much of her work. Growing up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Simpson attended the High School of Art And Design and the […]Read more "Look at me: Photographs and Identity"
From the sexually-charged lyrics of Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim to the lyrical exploration of love and sexual independence by Beyonce, black female artists of today use their music as a vehicle to express their sexuality. With the male-dominated music industry and the consumerist nature of women’s sexuality in contemporary culture, the amount of agency […]Read more "“Ain’t nobody caught me”: Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Expressions of Female Sexuality in Blues"
When discussing the beginning of the women’s rights movement, most would think of Susan B. Anthony, Seneca Falls, and the suffragette movement. However, there is another layer to this story that needs to be told: the influence of African American women on the women’s rights movement. Angela Davis is one contemporary example, spanning several layers […]Read more "Angela Davis: Rebel With a Cause"
Throughout American history, women have struggled to achieve the same legal and social status as their male counterparts. One of the longest fights women have engaged in revolves around the issue of sexual rights. Recently, anti-abortion advocates have begun to exploit black history in order to gain support from African-American communities against the termination of pregnancies. […]Read more "Mama Likes her Outside Men: Gertude Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Black Women’s Sexual Rights"
The mother smiled to know her child/ Was in the sacred place,/ But that smile was the last smile/ To come upon her face. For when she heard the explosion,/ Her eyes grew wet and wild./ She raced through the streets of Birmingham/ Calling for her child. She clawed through bits of glass and brick,/ […]Read more "Connecting the Past and Present: One Artist’s attempt to Create Inter-Generational Dialogue"
Some six million African-Americans migrated from the rural South to urban centers in the North and Northeast between 1915 and 1970.  There were several reasons people left their homes and traveled North. They searched for job opportunities, but perhaps most importantly, they fled the violence and oppression of the Jim Crow South. Harlem painter, […]Read more "One-Way Ticket: The Jacob Lawrence Migration Series at MoMA"
In today’s world, it is hard to imagine walking down the street and seeing a body hanging from a tree or a light post. However, for African-Americans during the Jim Crow years, the fear was finding the body of loved one, or being the one attached to the rope. America has a long history with […]Read more "Blood on the Leaves, Blood on the Roots: The Aftermath of Jim Crow"
Protest songs have long history in the United States. Arguably some of the first were written and sung by slaves during the 18th and 19th centuries where spirituals like “Go Down Moses” illustrated the relationship between African-American slaves and their slave masters. Continually, into the 20th century, songs by groups such as the Hutchinson Family […]Read more "A Call to Action: Protest Songs and the Anti-lynching Movement"