The Soul of a People Is Found In Their Art: A Critical Examination of African/Black Creative Expressions
Robert L. Harris, Jr.
Thesis DT 3.5 2009 K573
viii, 115 leaves.; 29 cm.
What is the highest responsibility of African artists? Is it to the work of art itself to pursue an object perceived as an island of form or symbol with little or no reference to other life experiences that lends itself to urgent, relevant social interpretation; is it to identify and promote one's self as an individual seeking recognition and/or commendation, to prove humanity and/or worthiness to others, or to advance the total liberation of all African/Black people? This profound, yet volatile question shapes and adds intellectual ballast to my thesis entitled, The Soul of a People Is Found In Their Art: A Critical Examination of African/Black Creative Expressions. This decidedly theoretical endeavor primarily concerns itself with African/Black artistic expressions (literary art, performance art, visual art) within white-dominated North American society, focusing on African/Black descendants born or living in the United States. The goal of this study is to contribute to the ever-evolving conversation regarding the creative works of Africans/Blacks in North America that includes not only a historical overview of the earliest extant "African American" cultural productions, but also an evaluation of the socio-historical and political context in which African/Black artists with distinctive attention on musicians flourished within the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including those contemporary artists who continue to thrive in the twenty-first century.