Sade Palmer

Features Editor 

Black History Month is one of the greatest months because it shows the growth and amazing things that African Americans have done in this country. It shows the incredible contributions that African Americans have made to the evolution of this country.

There have been many changes throughout the years that contributed to the development of history in America. African Americans have been plenty of those contributions. When the conversation of art and literature, African American women played a significant role in making history. After momentous roles in the both the civil rights movement and women’s movement, the amount of creative work produced by black women reached wider audiences. This tremendous change began to happen in the late 20th century early 21st century.

It was the 1859 when the first examples of literature written by African American women appeared. In 1861, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” by Harriet Jacobs became the first autobiography published by a former slave. This became one of the first books to address the struggle for freedom by female slaves and the struggles with sexual abuse. It was after World War 1 that black visual artist began producing a great amount of work influenced by different African aesthetic traditions.

Meta Warrick Fuller became the first black woman to receive a federal commission for her art. During the beginning of the 20th century there were many short stories, novels and commentary which were inspired by racial injustice and different lynching reports. During the 1920’s there was an accumulation of African American literature coming from Harlem in New York. One of the most powerful voices of the Harlem Renaissance was the author of “Quicksand” and “Passing”, Nella Larsen.

Fast forward to the 1950’s and 60’s, there were starting to be less of black women accepted into the mainstream of American art. Looking at the world now, African American women have come a long way in mainstream art. They have proved themselves worthy of recognition. It is women like Fuller and Jacobs that have made it possible for women to express themselves in art today.