This month's final post in our series celebrating African-American artists and writers brings together two greats of the Harlem Renaissance: James Weldon Johnson and Aaron Douglas. Johnson was multi-talented: an educator, writer, attorney and musician, he was the author of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," a leader of the NAACP, and the first African-American professor at New York University. God's Trombones is considered one of his most important works. Douglas was one of the leading artists of the Harlem Renaissance. He developed a distinctive style that blended modernism with African influences and was highly influential in the development of later African-American artists.
This post is the third in our series highlighting the work of African-American artists and authors in Special Collections. Countee Cullen was one of the leading poets and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance. This book of poetry, published at the height of his career, examines the relationships between faith and injustice. Cullen draws parallels between the suffering of the crucified Christ and the suffering of African Americans in the climate of racial violence that characterized the 1920s. The copy in Special Collections is inscribed by Cullen to Frank Luther Mott, who was Dean of the School of Journalism from 1942 to 1951.
This week we're highlighting Faith Ringgold's illustrations for Letter from Birmingham City Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr. Produced in 2007 for the Limited Editions Club, the book contains eight original serigraphs by Ringgold alongside a beautifully printed text by King. Special Collections has copies 119 and 132 from an edition of 400.
In honor of Black History Month, we're highlighting the work of African-American artists and authors in Special Collections. Artist Romare Bearden and poet Derek Walcott participated in this beautiful collaboration for the Limited Editions Club in 1983. We've selected a few of our favorite images to share here, including the gorgeous decorated cloth binding, which is the first image below.