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.

A modern icon: Beauford Delaney’s <i>Marian Anderson</i>
A modern icon: Beauford Delaney’s Marian Anderson

Delaney celebrates the famous opera singer Marian Anderson as a modern icon of Black excellence and civil rights

Thelma Streat, <i>Girl with Bird</i>
Thelma Streat, Girl with Bird

Is the bird real or imagined?

Slave Burial Ground, University of Alabama
Slave Burial Ground, University of Alabama

A 2004 plaque is the only marker of burial grounds of enslaved people who died while enslaved by the University of Alabama and its faculty

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

Nast and Reconstruction: understanding a political cartoon
Nast and Reconstruction: understanding a political cartoon

Thomas Nast's cartoon urges its viewers to confront white supremacy.

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)