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Regenia A. Perry, Camara Dia Holloway, Christina Knight, Dele Jegede, Bridget R. Cooks, and Jenifer P. Borum

Term used to describe art made by Americans of African descent. While the crafts of African Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries continued largely to reflect African artistic traditions (see Africa, §VIII), the earliest fine art made by professional African American artists was in an academic Western style (see fig.).

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crystal am nelson

photographer, was born Winifred Hall in Jamaica. She moved at age eighteen to New York City, where she enrolled in the New York Institute of Photography (NYIP), which was founded in 1910. Other notable black graduates of NYIP include Ernest Cole, South Africa's first known black photojournalist, and Matthew Lewis Jr., who won the Pulitzer Prize for his portfolio of silver gelatin and color photography, a first in Pulitzer history, in 1975.

While completing her photography studies, Allen apprenticed with Harlem-based photographer William Woodard in his studio Woodard Studio After Allen graduated sometime between the late 1920s and the early 1930s the precise date is unknown Woodard relocated to Chicago allowing Allen to take over his studio and rename it Winifred Hall Allen Photography Studio While operating her studio Allen also taught at the Mwalimu School of African culture and language which was founded in ...

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Patricia Hunt-Hurst

one of the pioneers of black women in fashion modeling, was born in Texarkana, Texas; she was the seventh of eight children. Her mother was a school teacher and her father a carpenter and farmer. Dorothy studied biology at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, where she completed her degree in 1945. She planned to study medicine, but when her mother died she moved to Los Angeles to live with family. While there she earned a master's degree in education at the University of Southern California, married, and started her modeling career.

The fashion industry in the late twentieth century included the major fashion centers of New York and Paris New York was known for its American ready to wear and Paris for its couture or made to order dresses of original designs Fashion models were vital to the display of the designs in both facets of the ...

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Darren Newbury

South African photographer, was born Ernest Levi Tsoloane Kole on 21 March 1940 in Eersterust, a township on the outskirts of Pretoria. He was the fourth of six children. His father had migrated from a rural area and worked as a tailor; his mother was a laundress for white families in Pretoria. His early life was shaped by apartheid. He left school shortly after the introduction of the Bantu Education Act (1953), which severely restricted the educational opportunities of black South Africans, continuing his education by correspondence through Wolsey Hall, Oxford. In 1960, his family was forced to relocate to the new black township of Mamelodi when Eersterust was declared a Coloured area under the Group Areas Act (1950).

Cole s interest in photography began at a young age He was given his first camera by a Catholic priest and by his early teenage years ...

Article

C. Doreski

Born into urban poverty in Baltimore, Maryland, on 22 December 1935, Samuel James Cornish was the youngest of the two sons of Herman and Sarah Cornish. From his older brother Herman he learned early the lessons of the street, which he later would incorporate into a street-tough observancy in his poetry.

Cornish served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps (1958–1960), then returned to Baltimore, where he published two poetry collections—In This Corner: Sam Cornish and Verses (1961) and People Beneath the Window (1964). While working at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, he became part of Baltimore's political and literary underground, self-publishing a sixteen-page pamphlet entitled Generations and Other Poems (1964). A subsequent edition of Generations (1966) appeared when Cornish was editing Chicory a literary magazine by children and young adults in the Community Action Target Area ...

Article

Makeda Best

photographer. Born in Harlem, New York, in 1919, Roy DeCarava knew by the age of nine that he wanted to be an artist. His creative talent led him to the arts-oriented Textile High School. Initially enrolled at the Harlem annex, DeCarava transferred to the better-equipped main campus located in downtown Manhattan. DeCarava went on to attend college at the Cooper Union School of Art. Though inspired by the opportunities the Cooper Union offered, DeCarava left in 1940 and began attending the Works Progress Administration–sponsored Harlem Community Art Center. DeCarava thrived in Harlem's lively visual arts community, where organizations such as the Harlem Artists Guild, founded by the painter Aaron Douglas in 1935 supported classes and forums He met other African American artists and found himself at the center of discussions about African American creative expression In addition to his studies at the Harlem Art Center DeCarava worked ...

Article

Caryn E. Neumann

who specialized in images of strife and deprivation, was born in Kingston, Jamaica. His father worked as a newspaper reporter in both Jamaica and the United States, inspiring du Cille to follow in his footsteps. Du Cille interned in photojournalism at The Louisville Courier Journal/Times and the Miami Herald while in college. He earned a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University in 1981 and an M.A. in Journalism in 1994 from Ohio University with a thesis on “The Use of Front-Page Photography in the Washington Post.”

Du Cille joined the Miami Herald in 1981, right after college. He won two Pulitzers before leaving the newspaper in 1988. Du Cille shared the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography with fellow Miami Herald photographer Carol Guzy for their images of the November 1985 eruption of Colombia’s Nevado del Ruiz volcano. He won the 1988 Feature Photography Pulitzer ...

Article

Ebony  

Todd Steven Burroughs

Ebony magazine is the first successful national “big picture” magazine to feature African Americans. Ebony was created in 1945—three years after its founder, the magazine publisher John H. Johnson, began publishing Negro Digest. Ebony has documented every major development of black life from 1945 to the present, becoming a staple of the media diet of the African American middle class. Ebony, a fixture in any urban bookstore or newsstand, has helped shape two generations of African Americans, providing information and inspiration to millions. As a result of the Chicago-based magazine's success, Johnson spawned one of the largest black-owned businesses of the twentieth century, realizing a market for black-oriented print advertising along the way.

Johnson adapted established white mainstream magazine formats to black Americans. Ebony was modeled after Life and Look magazines in the same way that Negro Digest (later called Black World) was modeled after Reader ...

Article

Wendy A. Grossman and Sala E. Patterson

was born Casimir Joseph Adrienne Fidelin on 4 March 1915 in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe’s largest city and economic capital. Fidelin posed for several photographers in Paris in the 1930s, including Roger Parry, Wols (Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze), and Man Ray. Although there is remarkably little written documentation about her, Fidelin is widely recognized as the model featured in an extensive assembly of images by Man Ray and acclaimed as the first black model to appear in a major American fashion magazine.

Fidelin emigrated with her family to France following the catastrophic September 1928 hurricane that swept the Caribbean archipelago and the South Florida peninsula killing twelve hundred people on her native island She came of age in Paris in an era in which the influx of émigrés from the French colonies in the Caribbean fueled the creation of a vibrant diasporic Antillean music and dance community that coincided with and ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

was born in Kumba Cameroon on 17 July 1962, not far from the Nigerian border. Fosso’s family belonged to the Igbo ethnic community and in his early years, he lived in Nigeria with his grandparents. When Fosso was four years old he became partially paralyzed. Although Western-trained doctors could not cure his condition, Fosso’s grandfather healed him through traditional methods. Fosso later celebrated his grandfather in a series of self-portraits. During the war for Biafran secession from Nigeria, Fosso fled into the forest to escape the Nigerian military. His mother died during the war, and his grandmother stayed in Nigeria. Fosso eventually arrived on 2 January 1972 in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, where his brother already had found work in a furniture-making business. His first job was as a shoemaker’s assistant.

Fosso s entrance into the world of photography came when he became an assistant ...

Article

Darren Newbury

South African photographer, was born on 29 November 1930 in Randfontein, a small gold-mining town to the west of Johannesburg, where his father owned a men’s clothing store. He was the youngest son of Eli Goldblatt and Olga Light, who came to South Africa as children with their parents, Jewish immigrants escaping anti-Semitism and persecution in Lithuania. As a child he developed a keen sense of social justice, shaped by his parents’ liberal values, his own experiences of anti-Semitism, and his observations of the treatment of black Africans at the police station near where he lived. He graduated from Krugersdorp High School in 1948, the year the National Party came to power.

Goldblatt became interested in photography while still at school, and his ambition to become a photographer was shaped by reading pictorial magazines from the United States and Britain such as Life, Look, and Picture Post ...

Article

Todd Steven Burroughs

A privately owned firm based in Chicago, Illinois, the Johnson Publishing Company was created, built, and run by John H. Johnson (1918–2005) and for much of the twentieth century was consistently listed as one of the top black-owned businesses in America. The success of Johnson's publishing empire was thanks in large part to the weekly Jet magazine and its big-brother monthly publication, Ebony, the two most popular black magazines in America. With Ebony (founded in 1945) and Jet (founded in 1951), Johnson created the black-oriented print advertising market and proved that commercial black magazines could be successful. By the early twenty-first century the company reported twenty-seven hundred full-time and part-time contracted employees, consultants, and associated employees in eleven nations on two continents.

The first office of Johnson Publishing Company was a corner of the second floor office of the black owned Supreme Liberty Life Insurance ...

Article

Darren Newbury

Malian photographer, was born around 1921 in Bamako, Mali (then part of French Sudan), the eldest of five children. His father was a skilled tradesman, and at a young age Keïta became an apprentice, soon developing into a proficient cabinet maker. Keïta was close to his uncle Tièmòkò, and when the latter returned from a family visit to Senegal with a camera, the young Keïta persuaded his uncle to let him have it as a present.

His first efforts with the camera were unsuccessful and many of the images were poorly exposed or blurred but he persisted Although never formally trained he did receive guidance and support locally Pierre Garnier who ran Bamako s earliest photographic shop and studio Photo Hall Soudanais offered him technical advice and encouraged him to learn to develop and print In the later 1940s Mountaga Dembélé an early Malian studio photographer allowed him to use ...

Article

Eric Bennett

Seydou Keita was born in the French Sudan (present-day Mali) and lived his entire life in his hometown of Bamako. There, from 1945 to 1977 , he created photographic portraits of thousands of locals and visitors. His work comprehensively documents the changing styles and social mores of urban West Africa during the decades when Mali underwent the transition from French colony to independent nation.

As an adolescent, Keita learned carpentry and embarked on a career as a cabinetmaker. In 1945, however, when an uncle returned from Senegal with a six by nine inch Kodak box camera Keita fell in love with photography and quickly learned its fundamentals At the time there were few photographers in Bamako but Keita learned to develop and print from French expatriate Pierre Garnier who ran a studio and photo supply shop After practicing the basics on family and friends he studied ...

Article

Darren Newbury

South African photographer, was born on 18 January 1932 in Vrededorp, Johannesburg. He grew up in the suburb of Sophiatown, the cultural center of urban black life in Johannesburg until its destruction in the 1950s under the Group Areas Act. He was educated first at the Lutheran School and then at Western Native High School. His father sold fruit and vegetables from a cart, and at weekends he would go with him to Johannesburg’s white suburbs. His family had a strong sense of independence, and conflicts with the authorities over passes and trading licences were a feature of his early life. The tough environment of Sophiatown also influenced his decision to train as a boxer.

His interest in photography began while still at school, when his father gave him a Kodak Brownie; but it was not until he came across Drum magazine that he began to think of ...

Article

Kim Miller

photographer and activist, was born on 19 July 1972 in Umlazi, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Muholi studied advanced photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown, Johannesburg. From 2007–2009 she studied Documentary Media at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Since the end of apartheid, Muholi has commented on the near total lack of visual and textual representation of people from the black lesbian community within South Africa during that country's historic antiapartheid struggle. At that time, the black lesbian community, Muholi included, was physically isolated from the urban centers where LGBT organizations and resources were located.

As an activist, she was a cofounder of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), a nonprofit black lesbian advocacy organization based in Johannesburg. She has worked as a photographer and reporter for Behind the Mask an online magazine on lesbian and gay issues in Africa Muholi has received a number ...

Article

Elizabeth Schul

Gordon Parks's first two publications-Flash Photography (1947) and Camera Portraits: The Techniques and Principles of Documentary Portraiture (1948)-while written primarily for the professional photographer, reveal an aesthetic and a social commitment that structures the astonishing diversity of his subsequent work. Embodying his conviction that the photographer must combine technical intelligence, especially in the use of light, with a sensitive response to people, both works are photographic portfolios representing a cross-section of American lives—rural and urban, wealthy and leisured, poor and laboring.

Frequently identified as a Renaissance man, given the range of his accomplishments and the variety of media he has used, Parks was also the first African American to work for Life, Vogue the Office of War Information and the Farm Security Administration and one of the first African Americans to write direct produce and score a film While the commercial success of his ...

Article

Ann Wilde

photographer, poet, writer, composer, and filmmaker. Born the fifteenth and final child of a farming family in Fort Scott, Kansas, Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks was born on 30 November 1912 Parks attended a segregated school where he was often stoned beaten and called derogatory names Three of his close friends had been killed because of racial violence and he was distinctly aware of the constant threat that faced him simply because he was African American and lived in the United States Parks s mother died when he was sixteen after which complying with his mother s wishes Parks moved to Minneapolis to live with his sister and brother in law Unwelcome in his brother in law s home Parks spent the winter homeless but managed to finish high school by working odd jobs He believed above all that the difficulty of his experiences ...

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Marian Aguiar

Gordon Parks was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, the son of a dirt farmer and the youngest of fifteen children. He left home when he was fifteen, shortly after his mother's death. After an unhappy attempt to move in with a married sister in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Parks ended up spending a frigid winter homeless, an experience that sensitized him to the plight of the poor and that he would draw on in later photography and films. At the time, his hunger and loneliness nearly led him to a life of crime; however, he managed to struggle through high school for a while, working odd jobs herding cattle, carrying bricks, and even touring with a semiprofessional basketball team.

Working as a waiter on the Northern Pacific Railroad, Parks saw magazine photos produced by the Farm Security Administration, a federally funded project that chronicled the Great Depression in rural and ...

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Eddie Chambers

The first substantial body of photographic images of the black presence in Britain date back to the years and decades immediately following the end of the Second World War.

1.Documenting success: 1940s–1970s

2.Vanley Burke

3.Armet Francis

4.Horace Ové

5.The 1980s onwards