Arts and Entertainment

Visual Arts

How did historically black colleges respond to the developments in the visual arts?

African-American artists felt a need to study the history, aesthetics, and formal qualities of art. Some continued to go abroad while others remained in the United States and studied at white colleges and universities and art academies and institutes. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) such as Fisk, Hampton, Howard, Morehouse, and Tuskegee responded by emphasizing art education as a viable career, as well as the basis for continuing a future cultural aesthetic in the visual arts. Fisk, for example, hired Aaron Douglas to establish its art department. He also adorned the walls of Fisk’s then-new library with colorful murals that told the story of black people’s move from Africa to America, the move into industrial areas, and their work as musicians, poets, and scientists.


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