In 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a pioneering black intellectual and the son of former slaves, recognizing “the dearth of information on the accomplishments of blacks . . . founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).”
Dr. Woodson and the ASALH would later, in 1926, establish the celebration that would go on to become known as Black History Month, choosing the month of February in order to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Today, the ASALH continues Dr. Woodson’s legacy as the progenitor of Black History Month by “disseminating information about black life, history and culture to the global community.”
Throughout our history, UC Press is proud to have published a great volume of work concerning the topics of black art, literature, politics, and more. Please join us throughout the month as we participate in this global celebration of black history.
Exploring Ambivalence in American Art
by Jordana Moore Saggese
“Amply illustrated . . . a lucid account that encourages the reader to look with refreshed eyes at the richness of the artist’s work.”
—Times Higher Education
Reading Basquiat provides a new approach to understanding the range and impact of this artist’s practice, as well as its complex relationship to several key artistic and ideological debates of the late twentieth century, including the instability of identity, the role of appropriation, and the boundaries of expressionism. Jordana Moore Saggese argues that Basquiat, once known as “the black Picasso,” probes not only the boundaries of blackness but also the boundaries of American art. Weaving together the artist’s interests in painting, writing, and music, this groundbreaking book expands the parameters of aesthetic discourse to consider the parallels Basquiat found among these disciplines in his exploration of the production of meaning.
Remaking Race and History
The Sculpture of Meta Warrick Fuller
by Renée Ater
“Remaking Race and History is an important sourcebook on this otherwise under-recognized artist. . . . Provides an indication of the insights that such future investigations can yield.”
This beautifully written study focuses on the life and public sculpture of Meta Warrick Fuller (1877–1968), one of the early twentieth century’s few African American women artists. To understand Fuller’s strategy for negotiating race, history, and visual representation, Renée Ater examines the artist’s contributions to three early twentieth-century expositions: the Warwick Tableaux, a set of dioramas for the Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition (1907); Emancipation, a freestanding group for the National Emancipation Exposition (1913); and Ethiopia, the figure of a single female for the America’s Making Exposition (1921). Ater argues that Fuller’s efforts to represent black identity in art provide a window on the Progressive Era and its heated debates about race, national identity, and culture.
Painting Harlem Modern
The Art of Jacob Lawrence
by Patricia Hills
“Based on exhaustive research and interviews, this thoughtful and comprehensive biography makes a good case for recognizing Jacob Lawrence as among the finest American artists of the 20th century. . . . [Hills’] empathetic analyses will make this the definitive biography of Lawrence for a very long time.”
Jacob Lawrence was one of the best-known African American artists of the twentieth century. In Painting Harlem Modern, Patricia Hills renders a vivid assessment of Lawrence’s long and productive career. She argues that his complex, cubist-based paintings developed out of a vital connection with a modern Harlem that was filled with artists, writers, musicians, and social activists. She also brings insightful analysis to his work, beginning with the 1930s street scenes that provided Harlem with its pictorial image, and follows each decade of Lawrence’s work, with accounts that include his impressions of Southern Jim Crow segregation and a groundbreaking discussion of Lawrence’s symbolic use of masks and masking during the 1950s Cold War era.