The Black Arts Movement started in response to the assassination of Malcom X. Amiri Baraka, a poet and playwright, founded it as a movement in Black literature and Black theatre. Baraka wanted art to drive political action. In his poem, “Black Art,” Baraka wrote:
“We want ‘poems that kill.’
Poems that shoot guns.
Poems that wrestle cops into alleys.”
The Black Arts Movement was also a movement in visual art. Artists like Faith Ringgold were inspired by it and promoted Black liberation through paintings, prints, posters and even quilts. The movement waxed and waned but it helped propel Black creatives to success in all media.
Image: Faith Ringgold, Woman Freedom Now (1971). Cut-and-pasted colored paper on board. 30 × 20" (76.2 × 50.8 cm) © 2020 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy ACA Galleries, New York