Segments in this Video

Black is the Color: Introduction (03:57)


Institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and National Gallery now display prominent African-American paintings. Organizations like the Studio Museum of Harlem and prominent black colleges were already displaying artwork by these artists. (Credits)

What is a Black Painting? (02:11)

African-American artists attempted to show a different representation of men and women, combating the caricatures of popular culture. The Colored Line further repressed blacks after the civil war. Early 20th-century art focused on emancipation.

Art: 1867 (02:38)

Edmonia Lewis' marble sculpture "Forever Free" is displayed at Howard University. Born on an Indian reservation, Lewis was in exile in Rome the year she completed the piece and slavery ended. Experts discuss its impact and influence on the art world.

Art: 1890 (03:56)

Segregation erupted during Reconstruction; Ossawa Turner attended the Pennsylvania Academy and was mentored by Thomas Eakins. At the Academie Julian, he painted "The Banjo Lesson" and "The Thankful Poor." Soon after, he abandoned painting the African-American experience.

Art: 1918 (03:14)

In "The End of the War," Horace Pippin painted the black soldiers hardly visible. Black contingents during WWI were under French command. Whitfield Lovell explains why he painted "Autour Du Monde."

Art: 1930 (05:00)

During the Harlem Renaissance, Malvin Gray Johnson painted a self-portrait that emphasized his African roots. W.E.B. DuBois gave Black art a political dimension and societal purpose. Aaron Douglas incorporated African sculpture and the gospel into his murals.

Art: 1940 (02:41)

In the Deep South, the Ku Klux Klan and white militias lynched African-Americans. Southerners fled to Chicago, Detroit, and New York during the Great Migration; Jacob Lawrence captured the movement in a geometric manner.

Art: 1947 (02:12)

Elizabeth Catlett painted images rejecting segregation; one of her paintings predicted the bus boycott movement. Her work demonstrated the dignity of African-Americans when faced with a demeaning situation.

Art: 1960 (01:41)

Abstract expressionism inspired Norman Lewis. "Evening Rendezvous" portrays the impact of the Ku Klux Klan, the burning of African-American churches, and the departure of Black souls. By the end of the 1960s, segregation laws were abolished, but African-Americans remained socially excluded.

Art: 1969 (07:40)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art displayed the "Harlem on My Mind" exhibit and did not include any African-American artwork. Romare Bearden created "The Block" in response. Experts discuss its impact and influences.

Art: 1980 (06:06)

During President Ronald Reagan's term, Detroit went bankrupt. Jean-Michel Basquiat emerged on the art scene, incorporating Harlem Renaissance iconography, Jazz, and contemporary rap figures. Walter Evans began to collect African-American Art in the 1970s.

Art: 2000 (07:14)

African-American artists began to portray their race with humor. Ellen Gallagher discusses the influences behind "DeLuxe." Lovell believes the impact of a painting resonates more deeply than that of a photograph.

Artistic and Political Struggle (03:10)

America created a new stereotype, the baseball cap wearing African American juvenile delinquent. When David Hammonds exhibited his painting of Jesse Jackson as a blond haired man, black youths vandalized it. Kerry James Marshall pushes the stereotype of African-Americans to its limits.

Credits: Black Is the Color (00:28)

Credits: Black Is the Color

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Black Is the Color

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Faced with racist caricatures, African American painters decided to present a different image of their community than the one imposed by the degrading stereotypes of a brutally racist society. Ignored and marginalized, they had to wait a century before they finally won recognition. This film tells the story of how African American artists took back their image, from the abolition of slavery to the present day.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL133199

ISBN: 978-1-64023-865-7

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.