Development as Intellectuals
To begin, I wanted to show the development of African Americans as intellectuals by selecting three different parts in history to depict the notable differences. I first began by painting distinct boarders between each segment to show a notable difference. The piece works as a timeline starting from left to right. On the left we see a picture of a dock, where African American troops would often work during wartime efforts. During this time, African Americans were not respected as individuals and weren't closely represented as intellectuals amongst other populations. Transition to the middle piece where we see a foggy lit stage, with the letters ENT, short for entertainment, written in gold. This scene was used to show where many African Americans began to gain notoriety in Paris as well as other areas of Europe. During this time period African American's began to develop a sense of individuality especially while on the stage. Parisians also began to see that African Americans were not a lower level of people as most white Americans made them seen, but rather an exotic and exciting new group of people that were coming to Europe. In this era, African Americans began to grow as intellectuals and began to see themselves as a group of individuals that could thrive in Europe. Next in the third section, I've depicted my rendition of Henry Ossawa Tanner's piece entitled, The Gateway. Here I chose to show one of the heights of African American growth as intellectuals during this time. Although African Americans gained respect during the performance time period they were still looked at as mere performers and not much more. In contrast during this final period that I've chosen to depict, African Americans are being seen and respected as individuals for their works. African Americans chose to express themselves in various ways such as art, music, poetry, literature and fashion. In closing, the objective of this piece was to touch on the development of African Americans as intellectuals through a few segments of the time period along with what they would most likely be doing in the given time period.