Aaron Douglas

Liz Santoro


Aaron Douglas was born in Topeka, Kansas in 1899. After graduating at University of Nebraska, Lincoln, he pursued his passion of art and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1922. He later moved to New York City to find Harlem's neighborhood an amazing art scene. In 1925, Douglas became involved in illustrating for Opportunity, The Crisis and the NAACP. He created powerful images of African-American life and struggles, and won awards for his work. Douglas created his best paintings during the 1930s. His most legendary piece was called "Aspects of Negro Life". This was a four-panel moral incorporating different parts on the African-American experience. He committed to learning and growing as an artist and was later funded to places as his painting trips. JFK invited him to a celebration at the White House and also received an honorary decorate. Aaron Douglas later died at the age of 79 in 1979. This man was to be known as "The Father of Black Renaissance Art".


The contributions Aaron Douglas made were the different styles of art used to show the aspects of African American Life. His illustrations such as paintings, portraits and murals influence today's artists and have a lasting influence on art history and African American culture. At Douglas' memorial , the university he taught at, a fellow university member says, "Aaron Douglas was one of the most accomplished of the interpreters of our institutions and cultural values. He captured the strength and weakness of the young; he translated the memories of the old; and he projected the determination of the inspired and courageous".