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Celebrating history's black creatives

Aaron Douglas - Widely acknowledged as one of the most accomplished and influential visual artists of the Harlem Renaissance. He moved to Harlem and illustrated for many publications including the NAACP's and W.E.B Du Bois's The Crisis, and Opportunity, and the monthly publication of the National Urban League edited by Charles S. Johnson. He later went on to illustrate for The Survey Graphics's book titled The New Negro: An Interpretation.

Robert Robinson Taylor - MIT's first Black graduate and the nation's first accredited African American architect. He attended MIT from 1888-1892 and earned honors in trigonometry, architectural history, differential calculus, and applied mechanics. Sometime after graduation, he joined Booker T. Washington at the Tuskegee Institute where he had a 40-year career as a professor and architect.

Ann Lowe - An African American designer behind Manhattan's elite fashion of the mid-20th century. She was responsible for the iconic wedding dress of Jackie Kennedy (Jaqueline Bouvier). She also had clients like the DuPonts, Roosevelts, Posts, Rockefellers, etc. She was the only Black student in design school. Segregated and entirely isolated throughout her studies. After finishing school she moved to NYC and opened up her first of three stores in Harlem.

James Van Der Zee - A Photographer who became an instrumental figure in documenting the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920s and '30s. Began his career as a darkroom assistant in 1913. Later opened up his own business called Guarantee Photo Studio where he captured the vibrant personalities of middle-class African-American families and celebrities.

Floyd Norman - Disney's First Black Animator worked on films such as Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmations, The Jungle Book, Seasame Street, and Fat Albert. He was later inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1979.

Augusta Savage - Born Augusta Christine Fells, she was an American sculptor and educator who faced racism to secure a place in the art world as an African American woman. In the 1920s Savage received commissions to sculpt portrait busts for W.E.B Du Bois and Marcus Garvey.

Sources: Britannica , MIT, Lofficiel USA, Williams, Britannica-2, Fashion History


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