African Americans were taken as less humans by the Whit Americans back in the days and used to work as slaves with low wages. They had completely no right and were not allowed to do so many things such as get any education since it was illegal back then for the African Americans to get educated. Also they were not allowed to vote since they had no rights and it was expected of them to serve their masters more like someones property and less of a human being. As years went the African Americans started realizing what they were going through and they started fighting for their rights which was characterized by continuous demonstrations and different constitutional laws which were hardly implemented. Good examples of such era includes the Jim Crows era which was more of the segregation laws where the African American was not allowed to share on interact with a white man since they were considered inferior. The struggle for African Americans from slavery took a while since some Whites believed that the African Americans were slaves since their roots were not from Africa (DeGruy). During the segregation laws African Americans were not supposed to use the White mans toiles or eat in the White mans hotel as well as travel while sitting on a Whitemans seat. Incase this was to happen the African Americans were to be prosecuted for breaking the law while on the other hand the Whites were highly protected by the law and an African American would not sue a white man.
Am Not a man and A brother?
This was a large bold woodcut image of a supplicant male slave who was in chains which was in the year of 1837. The title of the publication that the art appeared was Our Countrymen In Chains. The art was associated with antislavery and carried with at two special messages in relation to slavery (Elkins). One of the message was on the punishment that was supposed to be laid on someone who sells another person as a slave. The other message was more of a comparison between England and the US. It claimed that England was able to set free its 800,000 slaves while on the other hand America was not ready to set free the 2, 250,000slves she had. The art was based on the American Anti-Slavery Society.
Jacob Lawrence. War Series: Victory. 1947
Jacob war series art describes his experience in the war as a black American at that time. In the year 1947 he received the Guggenheim Fellowship to paint the war series. The series had 14 panels which present a narrative and that progresses from the shipping out of the soldiers to the victory of the war. Jacob adopts the silhouetted figure, simplified, overlapping profiles and prominent eyes which are typically of the Egyptians wall paintings and in the art uses the ancient style to transform the group of figures in to surface patterns, eschewing modeling and the perspective in the favor of the abstract form (Elkins). The art covered the main events during the wa, the intense action during the war as well as the explanation of the fact that one cannot tell a complete story with a single painting.
William Johnson. Chain Gang. 1939
The paint by Johnson is about the Chain Gang; blacks in jail and the different kind of things they had to handle while in prison. This was clear from the jail uniforms worn by the blacks in the painting and the pick-axes. It clearly covered some of the hardships the black went through back the in the year it was painted in 1939. The painting had different themes such as oppression of the black during the era and their determination to stand up against these oppressions as per the different tools they held in the picture. Also the matching in the uniform makes it hard for the viewer to separate the prisoners which shows how the inmates were treated despite your crime as long as you were an African American you were al subjected to the same kind of treatment (DeGruy). The art covers different things which showed the oppressive nature of the lifes the African Americans lived.
DeGruy, Joy. Post traumatic slave syndrome: America's legacy of enduring injury and healing. HarperCollins, 2017.
Elkins, Stanley M. Slavery: A problem in American institutional and intellectual life. University of Chicago Press, 2013.
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