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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

15. Poetry of Liberation

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Activities: Author Activities

Audre Lorde - Selected Archive Items

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[2254] Abbie Rowe, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963),
courtesy of the National Park Service, Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, many groups, including African Americans seeking greater equality and civil rights, used marches and nonviolent protests to make their voices heard. The sight of thousands of protesters marching in front of the White House had a powerful impact.

[3042] Anonymous, Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [A Young Woman at the March with a Banner] (1963),
courtesy of the Still Picture Branch, National Archives and Records Administration.
Basic constitutional rights were denied to African Americans for well over the first 150 years of the United States's existence. "I have come to believe over and over again," poet Audre Lorde said, "that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood."

[5460] Courier Lithograph Company, Uncle Tom's Cabin--On the Levee (1899),
courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Theatrical Poster Collection [POS-TH-1899.U53, no. 3].
Poster for a theater production showing happy slaves dancing. Post-Civil War Uncle Tom Shows were often performed by whites in blackface. By presenting blacks as subservient, without physical, intellectual, moral, or sexual power, such shows gave the term "Uncle Tom" its current derogatory meaning.

[6237] Gemini Rising, Inc., Clenched Fist on Red, Green, and Black Background (1971),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZC4-4389].
The Black Arts movement of the 1960s and 1970s was closely related to the Black Power movement. Leaders of the Black Arts movement, such as Amiri Baraka, argued that ethics and aesthetics were inextricably linked and that black art ought to be politically focused and community-oriented.

[7138] Anonymous, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) Leads the Black Arts Parade Down 125th Toward the Black Arts Theater Repertory/School on 130th Street, New York City (1965),
courtesy of The Liberator.
Influenced by civil rights activism and black nationalism, Baraka (Jones) and other African American artists opened the Black Arts Theater in Harlem in 1965.

[7652] Anonymous, Jim Crow Jubilee (1847),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-37348].
Jim Crow laws took their name from a character in minstrel shows that featured racist stereotypes about African Americans, depicting them as lazy and as less intelligent than whites.

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