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Art for EqualityThe NAACPs Cultural Campaign for Civil Rights$
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Jenny Woodley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813145167

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813145167.001.0001

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Representing the New Negro

Representing the New Negro

(p.35) 2 Representing the New Negro
Art for Equality

Jenny Woodley

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter explores the NAACP's response to black art and literature during the 1910s and 1920s. This was the era of the Harlem Renaissance, an explosion of black artistic creativity. It was also a time when the nature and purpose of that creativity were much debated. James Weldon Johnson and W. E. B. Du Bois in particular had much to say about the role of the arts and, in the case of the latter, about the relationship between art and propaganda. The NAACP could be criticized for overstating the importance and value of art and literature to ordinary African Americans, but it was not alone in hoping that a demonstration of black artistic talent could begin to chip away at racial prejudice.

Keywords:   Harlem Renaissance, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson, Art and propaganda

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