Art as a Weapon | Newberry

Art as a Weapon

The Black Chicago Renaissance of the 1930s and 1940s (second session)
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Dr. Erik Gellman, Roosevelt University
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

This seminar will examine the questions of how and why an African American “Renaissance” in the arts emerged in 1930s Chicago and what impact it had on the ideas about race, class, and politics, both in Chicago and across the nation. During the seminar, we will discuss preassigned readings and then analyze primary sources from some of the many talented artists who lived and worked in Chicago during this period. These artists included famous figures such as dancer Katherine Dunham, poet Gwendolyn Brooks, writer Richard Wright, painter Charles White, and photographer Gordon Parks, but we will also discuss a less familiar cast of characters who created democratic institutions and spaces on the South Side to make Chicago a national beacon for African American and American culture. In the context of discussing the people, spaces, and ideas that encompassed this Renaissance, we will connect it to the political context of the Great Depression, Second World War and Cold War, as well as compare and contrast it to the more famous Harlem Renaissance.

Cost and Registration Information 

Registration for all Newberry Teachers’ Consortium seminars opens September 4, 2014.

For NTC registration information, please contact Charlotte Ross at