There are deep black nationalist roots for many of the images and ideologies of contemporary racial justice efforts. This collection reconsiders the Black Aesthetic and the revolutionary art of the Black Arts Movement (BAM), forging connections between the recent past and contemporary social justice activism. Focusing on black literary and visual art of the Black Arts Movement, this collection highlights artists whose work diverged from narrow definitions of the Black Aesthetic and black nationalism. Adding to the reanimation of discourses surrounding BAM, this collection comes at a time when today’s racial justice efforts are mining earlier eras for their iconography, ideology, and implementation. As numerous contemporary activists ground their work in the legacies of mid-twentieth century activism and adopt many of the grassroots techniques it fostered, this collection remembers and re-envisions the art that both supported and shaped that earlier era. It furthers contemporary conversations by exploring BAM’s implications for cultural and literary studies and its legacy for current social justice work and the multiple arts that support it.
'A unique text that will make an important contribution by fresh voices to the growing body of scholarship on the Black Arts Movement.'
Jonathan Fenderson, Associate Professor, African & African-American Studies, Washington University in St. Louis