Dec 05, 2013-Apr 13, 2014

Crosscurrents

From the American Revolutionary War to the civil rights movement through today, forward-thinking Black Americans have consistently aligned their struggle for freedom with the battles of other oppressed peoples

At the turn of the 20th century, Black writers, intellectuals, and artists from around the globe—including Africa, the United States, South America, and the Caribbean—initiated ongoing dialogues that formed the basis for emerging ideologies and nascent movements concerned with helping all people of African descent attain liberation, equality, and self-determination.

This growing solidarity flowered under such banners as anti-colonialism, Pan-Africanism, Négritude, Negrismo, Indigenism, Blackness, anti-imperialism, and Black internationalism, a particularly fitting term for the interconnections of Black freedom struggles across national, continental and oceanic boundaries.

Significant ideological overlap existed among Black artistic and political movements at home in the Americas and abroad: W. E. B. Du Bois spearheaded several Pan-African Congresses; Marcus Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association; figures associated with the New Negro Movement and the Harlem Renaissance garnered international acclaim; and Négritude, a Paris-based cultural movement, was championed by French-speaking Blacks. Each one of these iterations emphasized culture as a means for holistic empowerment and invited African people to define culture on their own terms.