Friday, March 26, 2010

Post #3

Read Larry Neal's manifesto, "The Black Arts Movement." How would you describe the kind of writing Neal calls for? How does he see the arts in relation to political struggle and as a part of a movement?

Added bonus: this manifesto was published in the Summer of 1968. Do a little research on the events of that year. What was going on that might have shaped Neal's ideas?

Related announcement: We'll be talking about the Black Power movement and its 'cultural wing' the Black Arts movement in the coming weeks. There's a great related event going on at LaGuardia the week after break, a chance to hear from someone who was there. If you can go, please post your thoughts for extra credit.

Here's the information, thanks to Prof. Victor Rosa:

The Black Literature Series Committee of the English Department is honored to present activist, law professor, and memoirist Kathleen Cleaver, who will speak at the Little Theater on April 8 at 10:30 a.m.

Professor Cleaver was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and served as communications secretary of the Black Panther Party. She has taught at Emory University, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yale University and Sarah Lawrence College. Awarded fellowships at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, she has completed a memoir, Memories of Love and War.


  1. Hi prof, iam having a hard time with this site. is it possible for u to tell me how to leave a message for you to review my papaer

  2. Hi thequire1 - the best way to use the site is to post on your own blog - for example, you could post part of your draft and ask for feedback. When I see there's a new post from you I'll respond. If you have a general question about an assignment you can also leave it as a comment and I can respond.

  3. Larry Neal is calling for nothing less than the destruction of the ruling political and aesthetic hegemony that dominated the United States. For quite some time The prevailing wisdom of the artist, being writing ,dancing or music was seen as a furtherance of the prevailing white agenda. Neal sees a hidden agenda of sorts, which focuses on valuing the arts with a white context. He is calling for a re-invention of a new aesthetic which speaks to blacks and blacks alone. This is not to say that a non-white person cannot relate, learn or be influenced by this new art form. Rather he wants it from a black-only point of view. Then and only then, can blacks compare to themselves to their own cultural values that they set up. The racist west as Neal calls it, and rightfully so, wants to whiten everything over. It was not so long before this that it was considered acceptable to have whites portray blacks by coloring their faces. I.E Al Jolson.
    As I previously stated Art is meant to inspire, illustrate and communicate the human condition. It is no longer acceptable that whites are the ones controlling this medium. It is not the true face of America. White Americans aren't the only Americans and therefore do not reflect the true face of society.A new set of rules, symbols and paradigms must be created to reflect the true face of society. White Oppression began 400 years before and wasn't ready to give up exerting it's influence. Blacks and other minorties were taught to turn their backs on their original history upon landing on these shores. As Neal states, Why exactly should they concern themselves with a culture that has demoralized and ignored them?

    This is the end of Part 1 of my blog entrance

  4. I just read Larry Neal's "The Black Arts Movement" for the second time and I will continue to finish reading it. But I still think it is very interesting to read.