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Category: black history

blackarte

This year, for Black History month, we salute not the political activists or barrier breakers, but some distinguished African-American painters, sculptors and photographers–accentuating, of course, those with the most interesting names.

These Black history names range in time from portrait painter Joshua Johnson, born in 1763 and viewed as the first person of color to make his living as an artist in America, to contemporary women artists like Lorna Simpson, Ellen Gallagher and Kara Walker who confront issues of race head-on in their work.

The following is, of course, just a small representation of the countless distinguished artists of color.

GIRLS

Adrian Piper—(b.1948) an artist who introduces issues of race and gender into her conceptual art.  Note the conventionally male spelling of her name, rather than the usual feminine Adrienne.

Alma Thomas—(b.1891), moved from realistic to more abstract, expressionist paintings, two of which were chosen by Michelle Obama for the White House.

Augusta Savage— (b.1892), a sculptor who was part of the Harlem Renaissance.  Students in her Harlem studio included Jacob Lawrence and Gwendolyn Knight. She chose the unusual spelling of Agnus as her daughter’s name.

Carrie Mae Weems—(b. 1953) , an award-winning mixed-media artist whose work incorporates photography, fabric, digital images and video, much it exploring black family life, racism and gender issues.

Chakaia Booker—(b.1953), an assemblage artist who has worked with a variety of materials, including black rubber tires, said to address African-American identity.

Clementine Hunter  (b.1886)–pronounced clem-en-TEEN,  just like Mrs. Winston Churchill–  was originally named Clemence.  A self-taught  Louisiana Creole folk artist who began painting in her fifties, her work depicts plantation life in the early 20th century.

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Martin Luther King Day Names

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To commemorate Martin Luther King Day, we honor some of his fellow heroes and heroines of the civil rights movement.  It would be impossible to list all of them, so here are some of the most worthy namesakes.

AMELIA Boynton Robinson – brought Dr. King to Selma in 1953

ANGELA Davis  –radical Black activist, advocate of racial justice

CARLOTTA Walls – youngest member of the Little Rock Nine students who desegregated Central High School in 1957

CHARLAYNE Hunter-Gault –one of the first two African-American students to enter the University of Georgia in 1961

CLARA Luper – activist known as the ‘Mother of the Civil Rights Movement’

CLAUDETTE Colvin – refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus nine months before Rosa Parks did

CORETTA Scott King – Dr. King’s full partner in the civil rights movement

DAISY Bates —  a key figure in the integration of Central High School in Little Rock

DOROTHY Cotton – the highest ranking female in Dr King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT —   a civil rights activist during her husband’s tenure as President.

ELLA  Baker – influential activist, key figure in the NAACP, SCLC and in the creation of the Student Noviolent Coordinating Committee

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African-American Heroine Names

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As Black History Month segues into  Women’s History Month this weekend, we thought we’d take a look at the names of some African-American heroines.

Actually, compiling this list was not as easy as you might think (or as it should be).  Google and book searches tended to turn up only the usual suspects.  And then, late as usual, I bought my 2009 calendar from the bargain bin: A Journey Into 365 Days of Black History — Notable Women.

An array of admirable women are listed there, all of whom would provide wonderful role models (and lovely names) for any child.  The best:

ALICE Dunbar-Nelson — Journalist, poet, author.

BARBARA Jordan — Texas Congresswoman who won fame during Nixon impeachment hearings.

BESSIE Coleman — In 1922, became the world’s only licensed black pilot.  She staged flying exhibitions to fund a school to train black aviationists.

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