Art & the Revolution: A Visual History of the movements that shaped Black lives.

Art & the Revolution: A Visual History of the movements that shaped Black lives.

It was 55 years ago that Martin Luther King addressed a crowd standing on the steps of the State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama and asked, “How long will it take?

At that moment in time, the Civil Rights Movement was fighting for voting rights and they endured police brutality as they marched 54 miles from Selma to Montogomery. Today, amid COVID-19, we’re continuing to battle the racism that is woven into the minds of this country and in our systems and institutions. The recent killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police have sparked marches in all 50 states and all over the world. 

For many, this is the first time bearing witness to these racial acts of violence, to marching, and to chanting that Black Lives Matter. Just like 55 years ago when our parents and grandparents marched, we are watching history unfold in real time. 

Don Hogan Charles – Photograph depicting the rioting in Newark NJ by residents following the arrest of the Black cabdriver, John W Smith, by two Newark policeman, John DeSimone and Vito Pontrelli in the summer of 1967.

As these movements unfold, there’s no doubt that art plays a pivotal role in shaping and advancing the fight for equality. From infographics to front line photography countless artists respond and capture the issues of violent racism, segregation, and Black identity in the United States. In honor of our strength and perseverance in this fight for equality ,‘Art & the Revolution’ is an Instagram series that celebrates some of the influential art made throughout our fight for civil rights from then to now. 

Mark Clennon – Korey Wise from the Exonerated Five, protesting in Harlem May 30th 2020.

In the words of James Baldwin, “Artists are here to disturb the peace.”

Featured Image: Barbara Jones-Hogu, Unite, (1971).