Aspects Of A Negro Life Essay

1797 Words 8 Pages
Aspects Of A Negro Life

Through his political activism and his artwork, Douglas dramatically changed the way other artists viewed African Americans. Politically, he helped found and served as president for the activist organization that drastically assisted with employing thousands of artists.

he 1920s and 1930s brought drastic changes to the lives of many African Americans. Geographically, they migrated toward the urban, industrialized North, not only to escape racial prejudices and economic hardships, but also to attain higher social and economic status. This “Great Migration” transformed the streets of Harlem, New York, and gave rise to cultural changes of the New Negro movement. As this movement gradually gained popularity,
…show more content…
Through his political activism and artwork, Douglas was able to reveal the ideas and values exemplified during the Harlem Renaissance, despite significant criticism of his style.

With this rebirth of traditional African culture, the number of African American artists rapidly increased. It became difficult for these artists to gain employment, even with the assistance of government work-relief programs, such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Set up by President Roosevelt as part of his New Deal program, the WPA offered jobs to thousands of unemployed artists, in an attempt to boost the nation’s morale, as well as stimulate the depressed economy. Despite its good intentions, the government program was unable to pay decent wages and failed to provide employment for nearly five million artists (American). In response to this failure, the Harlem Artist Guild, founded in 1928, aggressively began to work alongside the WPA to ensure the success of African American artists. Led by its first president, Aaron Douglas, the activist organization played an influential role in helping artists attain the recognition necessary to qualify them for the WPA work projects (Bearden 131). With the assistance of Douglas, the Harlem Artist Guild, and the WPA, millions of African American artists succeeded in gaining employment despite the hard times of the 1930s (Artnoir’s).

In his own works, Aaron Douglas used a strong,