365 Days of Art: May 26 – Aaron Douglas is Born

Aaron Douglas, Aspects of Negro Life: From Slavery to Reconstruction, mural at Fisk University, 1934

May 26, 1899

Aaron Douglas is born.

Douglas is the leading artist of the Harlem Renaissance, a circle that is known also for jazz and writing. His engagement with African and Egyptian design brings him to the attention of W. E. B. Du Bois and Dr. Locke, who were pressing for young African American artists to express their African heritage and African American folk culture in their art.

He illustrates for the two most important African-American magazines of the period, paints canvases and murals, and after leaving NYC, founds the art department at Fisk University in Nashville.