Theme from Black History Month is African Americans and the Arts

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History was established in 1915.
According to the association, when Carter G. Woodson established  Negro History week in 1926 (now Black History Month), he realized the importance of providing a theme to focus the attention of the public.
The theme for 2024 is African Americans and the Arts.
The ASALH notes that African American art is infused with African, Caribbean and the Black American lived experiences.
“In the fields of visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary and other forms of cultural expression, the African American influence has been paramount,” noted ASALH.
“African American artists have used art to preserve history and community memory as well as for empowerment.”
The association states artistic and cultural movements, such as the New Negro, Black Arts, Black Renaissance, hip-hop and Afrofuturism, have been led by people of African descent and set the standard for popular trends around the world.
This year, ASALH invites persons to examine the varied history and life of African American arts and artisans.
The association noted the suffering of those in bondage gave birth to the spirituals, the nation’s first contribution to music.
“Blues musicians, such as Robert Johnson, McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield and Riley B. “B.B.” King created and nurtured a style of music that became the bedrock for gospel, soul and other still popular (and still evolving) forms of music,” stated ASALH.
“In the 1920s and 30s, the rise of the Black Renaissance and New Negro Movement brought the Black Arts to an international stage. The 1960s continued this thread through the cultural evolution known as the Black Arts Movement, where artists covered issues such as pride in one’s heritage and established art galleries and museum exhibitions to show their own work, as well as publications such as Black Art.
“In 1972, in the Bronx, New York Black musicians, such as DJ Kook Herc and Coke La Rock, started a new genre of music called hip-hop. These performers also used technological equipment, such as turntables, synthesizers, drum machines and samplers to make their songs.”
The association notes the term Afrofuturism was used approximately 30 years ago in an effort to define cultural and artistic productions, such as music, literature and visual arts, etc., that imagine a future for Black people without oppressive systems, and examines how Black history and knowledge intersects with technology and science.
“In celebrating the entire history of African Americans and the arts, the ASALH puts into the national spotlight the richness of the past and present with an eye towards what the rest of the 21st century will bring,” the organization notes.
“ASALH dedicates its 98th Annual Black History Theme to African Americans and the arts.”

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