AFrican american history in   harlem, new york city, ny

A brief visual journey of artistic and historical relevance as it relates to the African American experience in Harlem, New York City, NY.

"Midsummer Night in Harlem" was painted by Palmer C. Hayden. Currently, in hangs in The Museum of African American Art. In this painting, we see a large black community on what appears to me to be a Sunday. There is a church depicted in the background, which shows the artist, as well as this communities connection to their faith. More importantly, something I noticed is that nearly every face in the picture was painted with a smile on their face.
"The Band" was painted by a white, English painter by the name of Edward Burra. While visiting New York in the 1930's, he stayed in Harlem with notable black actress Edna Lloyd Thomas. His trip to Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance is well documented, and he was particularly inspired by the sense of community in the artistic community. This is his depiction of the Big Band and dance scene he experienced in 1934 Harlem.
"Youth Group, Harlem" is a photograph by Richard A. Lyon. This picture represents the incredible transition this country was going through. For me, this really is more than meets the eye. It explains the socio-economic transition that the African American population was going through. Additional, one of the most "all-American" things young boys in the country could take part in during the time was to be a Boy Scout. For young black men, this picture shows a sense of equality in this country in doing so.
"Gamin" by Augusta Savage is a painted plaster sculpture. Gamin is the street word for "street urchin", and depicts a young African American boy. Some say Savage modeled it after a young homeless boy she met in the area. Other's say it is what Augusta Savage imagines a "street urchin" would look like circa the 1930's, a young man of color.
"Savoy Dancers" is a picture taken by Aaron Siskind. Big Band and dance were huge part of the culture in the early 1920's into the 1940's, especially during the Harlem Renaissance. Siskind perfectly captures that here. The expressions of the dancers is that of pure joy.
"Black Power Rally Against Columbia University" is a poster by Congress of Racial Equality. To combat racism and promote unity within the African American community, there were many approaches. Some militant, some religious, some peaceful, some educational. This poster and rally organization seems that of an educational nature. The depicts an octopus, with it's arms being things that work to tear the black community apart. The artist pleads with the Harlem community to "stop the Columbia octopus from destroying black unity". Truly a captivating piece.
This poster seems to be a bit more direct, and more of an angered approach to combatting racism in this country. Pan-Africanism is an ideology and movement that encourages the solidarity of Africans worldwide. It is based on the belief that unity is vital to economic, social, and political progress and aims to "unify and uplift" people of African descent.This piece is called "Rally sponsored by Pan-African Nationalist Association". It is pleading with the member of the black community to RALLY!
In many of Larry Fink’s photographs, candid doesn’t begin to describe how relaxed his subjects are. He captures such genuine "slice of life" moments that they appear completely unaware someone is taking their picture. This photo of Coretta Scott King is no different. It was captured in a rally in Harlem, and Scott King almost seems to be looking for a sense of calming in the face of the man in front of her, yet with eyes full of fear. You can almost hear the buzzing of the crowd in the photo in this truly powerful image.
"Death: A Rumor in Our Communities" is a booklet created by Charles Kenyatta. This booklet contains an essay by Kenyatta, a bodyguard and protégé of Malcolm X who became a Harlem street orator after Malcom X's assassination. This booklet was likely produced by Kenyatta and handed out in the streets. The wrappers feature inflammatory headlines and photos from two new York newspapers from May 1971.
The artist, Tschabalala Self, constructs exaggerated depictions of female bodies using a combination of sewn, printed, and painted materials, traversing different artistic and craft traditions. In her piece "Bodega Run", we see what appears to be an African American woman going on a "run" to a typical Harlem bodega. In her head, near her brain, a cut-out of words saying "Open 24-Hours" is placed. This could have a double meaning, in my opinion. Self is known for masking her own experiences and cultural attitudes toward race and gender in her artwork, and this creation is no different.
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This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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