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by Tritobia Hayes Benjamin, Ph.D.

     The arts are vigorous, vibrant and vital in 2001! Although they differ in methodology and purpose from the sciences, mathematics, psychology and economics, the arts offer an essential compass to human activity and bridge the past and present.

     Since the arrival of Africans in the western hemisphere, our artists have interpreted, re-interpreted and represented the African American experience in an array of mediums and provided critical insights into the circumstances of race, gender, class and identity. Their work enabled Blacks to survive the oppression of enslavement and psychic attack and offer the new culture marvelous creations. This artistry is central to the historical legacy of artistic studies and American culture.

     The commitment to artistic expression often pitted the musician, actor, painter or writer against the hegemony of social, political and economic systems resistant to the inclusion of African Americans. We pay homage to our ancestors who met the challenges and provided wider venues for contemporary expression and applaud today's artists who learned their lessons well. Strengthening the intellectual fabric of American society and the global community, the work goes forward to the future as African American artists continue to improvise, explore, configure, perform.

 

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HUAN 7 
February 2001