From slavery to civil rights

American art shows us the reality and effects of racism and slavery, and often points the way to social justice.

Monument Avenue and the Lost Cause
Monument Avenue and the Lost Cause

A conversation that took place on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, just before the last Confederate monument on the boulevard was removed in September 2021

Vertis Hayes, <em>The Lynchers</em>
Vertis Hayes, The Lynchers

A horrifying painting of racial violence that can help us see where we are and where we need to be in terms of tolerance and empathy

Teaching guide<br>Thomas Hovenden, <em>The Last Moments of John Brown</em>
Teaching guide
Thomas Hovenden, The Last Moments of John Brown

John Brown was a radical abolitionist who believed in using violence to destroy the violent institution of slavery. Thomas Hovenden's painting of a popular story about Brown's last moments, created 25 years after Brown's execution, promoted the righteousness of his cause at a time when state governments were stripping away the political gains made by African Americans during Reconstruction.
APUSH: KC-5.2.I.B, KC-5.3.II.C
TEKS: 113.41.(3)(C)

Teaching guide<br>Covered sugar bowl
Teaching guide
Covered sugar bowl

This sugar bowl recalls the transatlantic trade network that developed around sugar in the early American colonial era, bolstered by the growing popularity of tea, coffee, chocolate, and punch in Europe. Its expanded production depended on the labor of enslaved people, many of whom were abducted from Africa, to harvest and process sugar cane in the Caribbean.
APUSH: KC-2.1.III.A, KC-2.2.II.A

Turning <em>Uncle Tom’s Cabin</em> upside down
Turning Uncle Tom’s Cabin upside down

A Greek myth and the American anti-Slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin are combined to upend our own contemporary myths.

A beacon of hope
A beacon of hope

One of two panels to survive the Texas Centennial, pointing to a future free of racism.

A memorial to Civil Rights martyrs
A memorial to Civil Rights martyrs

An unflinching memorial to civil rights martyrs by the contemporary artist Thorton Dial.

Teaching guide<br>Aaron Douglas, <em>Aspiration</em>
Teaching guide
Aaron Douglas, Aspiration

Aaron Douglas's paintings at the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition focused on how the rich African past inspired a bright future for African Americans, even in the midst of Jim Crow and the Great Depression.
APUSH: KC-7.2.I.B
TEKS: 113.41.(24)(B)

John Brown, Martyr or murderer?
John Brown, Martyr or murderer?

John Brown has polarized political opinion from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement.

Horace Pippin, <em>Mr. Prejudice</em>
Horace Pippin, Mr. Prejudice

African Americans' ongoing fight against racism in the U.S. undermined the sense of victory in both world wars.

Teaching guide<br>Horace Pippin, <em>Mr. Prejudice</em>
Teaching guide
Horace Pippin, Mr. Prejudice

Pippin fought bravely in World War I, but he and other African American soldiers did not receive a hero's welcome when they returned to the United States. Incorporating this history into his 1943 painting, Pippin places racism and segregation among the forces aligned against Allied victory in World War II.
APUSH: KC-7.2.II.C, KC-7.3.III.C.i
TEKS: 113.41.(7)(F)

Teaching guide<br>Benny Andrews, <em>Flag Day</em>
Teaching guide
Benny Andrews, Flag Day

In the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, Benny Andrews protested the exclusion of Black artists from museums. Flag Day captures a complex sense of being both imprisoned by and liberated by the American flag as efforts to combat racial discrimination were slowed by continuing resistance from white institutions.
APUSH: KC-8.2.1.C
TEKS: 113.41.(9)(B)