The Art of
Parallels in the Black Arts and
Feminist Art Movements
Lisa Gail Collins
What we got to do is to dig into this thing that tugs at our souls—this blue yearning to make a
way of our own. Black people you are Black art.
—LARRY NEAL, "ANY DAY NOW: BLACK ART AND BLACK LIBERATION," 1969
I wanted to wed my skills to my real ideas and to aspire to the making of art that could clearly
reveal my values and point of view as a woman.
—JUDY CHICAGO, THROUGH THE FLOWER: MY STRUGGLE AS A WOMAN
Similar utopian visions linked the Black Power and Women's Liberation Movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Passionate participants in both struggles ardently imagined a world where they would thrive, be safe, and feel connected, authentic, and whole. Holding these honest aspirations close, activist-participants worked tirelessly to realize them by transforming the dominant social order. Both Black Power and Women's Liberation agitators struggled to unite and mobilize the people they saw as their allies and kin in order to dismantle oppressive power relations, redistribute wealth and other resources, gain value and legitimacy, and design a new and just destiny. While Black Power advocates saw their primary goal as defeating white supremacy and feminist advocates saw their primary goal as overthrowing patriarchy, or male supremacy, activists in both struggles shared a common goal for their imagined allies and kin—social and psychological liberation and freedom from oppression.
The Black Power and Women's Liberation Movements, as well as their cultural corollaries the Black Arts and Feminist Art Movements, closely resembled each other; both movements shared similar traits, tendencies, tactics, and goals.