Black History: Some Documentation

was a display in the Fine Arts Library of the University of Texas at Austin assembled to commemorate Black History Month, which takes place in February each year. We have the historian Carter G. Woodson to thank for Black History Month. In 1926 Woodson worked with the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History to announce the second week of February as being, in the terminology of its time, ‘Negro History Week.’ Assembled here is a range of material, from first or early editions of important works of American/Black Diaspora literature, through to material referencing today’s Black Lives Matter movement. Included in the display are first editions of Marcus Garvey’s ‘Philosophy and Opinions’, published in two volumes in 1923 and 1925. It was Garvey, through his organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association, who pioneered the rallying cry, “Africa for the Africans, those at home and those abroad!” Also included here are copies of the original journals in which appeared the seminal texts by George Schuyler and Langston Hughes respectively – “The Negro Art Hokum” and “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”

Also on display is a tract penned and self-published in 1931 by wealthy white socialite Nancy Cunard, in defense of her relationship with Henry Crowder, an African-American jazz musician who was working in Paris – a relationship that incurred the displeasure of Cunard’s mother.

The display was on view January 18 - August 30 2017, assembled by Eddie Chambers, of the Art History Department of the University of Texas at Austin.