Art or Propaganda?

1. Introduction.

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W.E.B. Dubois and Alain Locke were important contributors to the epoch known as “Harlem Renaissance”. With their writings atrists needed to do something towards racism, they wished to level out that the African – Americans don’t need to really feel inferior.

Writing within the April, 1915, issue of Crisis, DuBois said: “In art and literature we should always try to loose the tremendous emotional wealth of the Negro and the dramatic power of his issues by way of writing … and different forms of art. We ought to resurrect forgotten historic Negro art and history, and we should always set the black man before the world as both a artistic artist and a robust subject for artistic treatment.

DuBois stated what were to be recurrent themes of the last decade of the twenties: the Negro as a producer and a subject of art, and the Negro’s artistic output as indices of his contribution to American life. (Linnemann R.J. p 79)

In essense, each Locke and DuBois agreed about what constituted good artwork.

It was the operate of art on which they didn’t agree. DuBois doubted if one could actually have a disembodied artwork or beauty; but Locke was not looking for for the Negro author a disembodied magnificence. (Linnemann, R.J. p 92)

DuBois strongly disagreed with Locke’s view that “Beauty rather than Propaganda ought to be the item of Negro literature and art. …If Mr. Locke’s thesis is insisted upon an extreme amount of is going to show the Negro Renaissance into decadence.” (Marable, M.. p 130)

First I will give some basical details about the Harlem Renaissance.

In the principle part I will present the opinions of A. Locke, who most popular arts, and W.E.B. DuBois, who was for propaganda. In point three I will write about DuBois’s life. After that I will present what he wanted normally. The final part of level three I will present why he was for propaganda. Therefore I analysed several of his works, particularly his paper “Criteria of Negro art”.

In point four I will introduce Alain Locke with a short biography and then I will present what he needed for the African – Americans. The second a half of level 4 will show why he most well-liked artwork. My focus shall be on his anthology “The New Negro” and his article “Art or Propaganda?”.

Basically there have been ideas which DuBois and Locke shared. One instance is the concept of schooling which will play a role in point five. In level six I will give a short abstract.

2. The Harlem Renaissance

In the early 1900s, significantly within the Twenties, African-American literature, art, music, dance, and social commentary began to flourish in Harlem, a section of New York City. This African-American cultural movement became generally identified as “The New Negro Movement” and later as the Harlem Renaissance. More than a literary movement, the Harlem Renaissance exalted the unique culture of African-Americans and redefined African-American expression. African-Americans have been encouraged to rejoice their heritage. (Johnson, W.)

One of the factors contributing to the rise of the Harlem Renaissance was the good migration of African-Americans to northern cities (such as New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.) between 1919 and 1926. In his influential book The New Negro (1925), Locke described the northward migration of blacks as “something like a non secular emancipation.” Black urban migration, combined with trends in American society as a whole towards experimentation during the 1920s, and the rise of radical black intellectuals — together with Locke, Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), and W. E. B. DuBois, editor of The Crisis journal – all contributed to the actual styles and unprecedented success of black artists during the Harlem Renaissance period.


More than a literary motion and greater than a social revolt towards racism, the Harlem Renaissance exalted the unique tradition of African-Americans and redefined African-American expression. African-Americans were inspired to rejoice their heritage and to turn out to be “The New Negro,” a term coined in 1925 by sociologist and critic Alain LeRoy Locke.

3. About W.E.B. DuBois – what did he want?

Pioneer within the struggle for Afro-American liberation and for African liberation, prolific black scholar, W.E.B. DuBois (1868 – 1963) was one of the giants of the 20 th century. (Foner, flap text)

DuBois’ mature imaginative and prescient was a reconcilation of the “sense of double consciousness” – the “two warring ideals” of being each black and American. He came to just accept struggle and conflict as essential elements of life, however he continued to believe within the inevitable progress of the human race – that out of individual struggles in opposition to a divided self and political struggles of the oppressors, a broader and fuller human life would emerge that might profit all of mankind (Kerry W.).

Dr. Dubois was awarded the primary Spingarn Medal in 1920. This was awarded “to that Negro who achieved the very best in any human endeavor.” He was an activist for global affairs, editor of the NAACP Crisis publication, and set up the meeting for the primary Pan-African Congress. He was a person of precept and conviction. The seeds he planted nonetheless nourish us at present. (

To attain racial equality he based the Niagara Movement – a gaggle of African-American leaders dedicated to an lively battle for racial equality. The Niagara Movement was founded in 1905, by a gaggle of African-Americans, led by W. E. B. Du Bois, John Hope, and William Monroe Trotter, who known as for full civil liberties, an finish to racial discrimination, and recognition of human brotherhood. (

W.E.B. DuBois noticed that racism and prejudices are an issue. Therefore he wrote: “Once upon a time in my youthful years and in the dawn of this century I wrote: ‘The downside of the 20 th century is the issue of the color line.’ It was a pert and singing phrase which I then favored and which since I even have usually rehearsed to my soul and asked:–how far is this prophecy or speculation? Today in the last years of the century’s first quarter, let us examine the matter once more, especially in the memory of that nice event of those nice years, the World War.

Fruit of the bitter rivalries of economic imperialism, the roots of the catastrophe have been in Africa, deeply entwined at bottom with the problems of the color line. And of the legacy left, the issues the world inherits maintain the identical fatal seed; world dissension and disaster nonetheless lurk in the unsolved issues of race relations. What then is the world view that the consideration of this query offers?.(DuBois, W.E.B. “The Negro Mind Reaches Out”) DuBois wanted to encourage African – American folks. In his essay “On Being Ashamed Of Oneself” from 1933 he described the sensation of inferiority. At the identical time he encouraged the people to really feel confident

“…we should oppose all segregation and all racial patriotism; we must salute the American flag and sing ‘Our country’ Tis of Thee’ with devotion and fervor, and we should struggle for our rights with long and carefully deliberate campaigns; uniting for this objective with all sympathetic people, coloured and white. … But there are particular practical difficulties connected with this program which have gotten increasingly more clear at present. First of all comes the precise fact that we are nonetheless ashamed of ourselves and are thus stopped from legitimate objection when white folks are ashamed to call us human.” (Weinberg, M. p 12)

DuBois wanted to fight against the problems which African – Americans have. Their bad state of affairs was defined in his paper “The Study Of The Negro Problems”:

“…let us inquire somewhat more carefully beneath the form under which the Negro issues present themselves at present after 275 years of evolution. Their existence is plainly manifested by the reality that a undoubtedly segregated mass of eight tens of millions of Americans don’t wholly share the nationwide life of the individuals, are not an integral a half of the social body. The factors at which they fail to be included into this group life constitute the particular Negro issues, which could be divided into two distinct and correlated components, depending on two details:

First – Negroes don’t share the total national life as a outcome of as a mass they have not reached a sufficiently high grade of culture.

Secondly – They do not share the total nationwide life because there has all the time existed in America a conviction – varying in intensity, however all the time widespread – that people of Negro blood ought to not be admitted into the group lifetime of the nation it would not matter what their condition could be. Considering the problems arising from the backward development of Negroes, we might say that the mass of this race doesn’t attain the social requirements of the nation with respect to a) Economic condition, b) Mental training, c) Social efficiency. ” (Foner, p 108)

Du Bois was a pioneer advocate of the black beauty idea and of black energy though he avoided attaching a colour tag. In his “Immediate Program of the American Negro” (April, 1915) he asserted: “The Negro must have energy; the ability of males, the best to do, to know, to feel and categorical that knowledge, motion and spiritual reward. He should not merely be free from the political tyranny of white folks, he must have the proper to vote and rule over the residents, white and black, to the extent of his confirmed foresight and skill.” (Moon, H.L.)

One method of taking a glance at it’s that the Harlem Renaissance attacked the superstructure of White supremacy whereas legal and political activists within the Thirties and 1940s began to attack the every day practice of racism via the courts and demonstrations. For example, the Harlem Renaissance is usually credited with heightening awareness of the cultural contributions that African and African American peoples have made to American tradition, specifically in music, dance, poetry, and speech, in addition to in agriculture, drugs, and innovations.

Here the concept was that (1) racism in America can be undermined not solely via protest towards racist practices, but also by changing the prevailing pictures and associations that European Americans, especially educated European Americans, had about Black people. And then (2) by disseminating positive images of African Americans as contributors to American Culture, many of those Harlem Renaissance intellectuals hoped to boost the conceit of Black folks themselves. A individuals with a higher self-esteem could be more resistant to segregation and discrimination, and more prepared to problem the system than those that were demoralized.

(Powell, R.)

3.1. How did he wish to attain his aims?

After scholar Alain Locke compiled the New Negro – heralding a younger era of black voices and establishing Harlem as a cultural center – Du Bois vented his ire in regards to the state of the humanities in Harlem. At the NAACP’s annual convention in June 1926, Du Bois delivered a lecture entitled “Criteria of Negro Art” in which he insisted that each one relevant artwork should be propaganda. The lecture was later printed in a special Crisis series, “The Negro in Art.” (

In his paper “Criteria of Negro art” W.E.B. DuBois wrote: “Thus all art is propaganda and ever have to be, regardless of the wailing of the purists. I stand in utter shamelessness and say that whatever artwork I even have for writing has been folk to like and enjoy. I do not care a damn for any artwork that isn’t used for propaganda. But I do care when propaganda is confined to 1 aspect whereas the other is stripped and silent.” (Weinberg, M. p 258)

DuBois didn’t totally reject art but in his opinion artwork is supposed to have a message. He factors out that there isn’t any must feel inferior and because of that Black individuals ought to fight for their rights.

“Colored individuals have stated: ‘This work must be inferior as a result of it comes from colored individuals.’ White folks have stated: ‘It is inferior as a end result of it is carried out by colored individuals.’ But right now there’s coming to both the realization that the work of the black man just isn’t always inferior.’ ” ( W.E.B. DuBois “Criteria of Negro art” in: Weinbeg, M. p 255)

I already talked about that Harlem Renaissance intellectuals needed to raise people’s self – esteem. In his paper “Criteria of Negro Art” DuBois additionally emphasizes that the artwork coming from African – Americans is nice.

“And then you realize what shall be said? It is already being mentioned. Just as quickly as true art emerges; just as soon as the black artist seems, somebody touches the race on the shoulder and says, 2he did that as a outcome of he was an American, not as a end result of he was a Negro; he was born here; he was trained right here; he isn’t a Negro – what’s a Negro anyhow? He is just human; it is the kind of factor you should count on.

I don’t doubt that the final word artwork coming from black people is going to be simply as stunning, and beautiful largely in the same ways, as the artwork that comes from white people, or yellow, or pink; but the point today is that until the art of black people compels recognition, they will not be rated as human. And when via art they compel recognition, then let the world uncover if it will, that their atr is as new as it’s old and as old as new.” (Weinberg, M. p 260)

Du Bois’ extreme angle relating to the connection between art and politics was not totally shared by Alain Locke, however adequately expressed the prevailing temper among the intelligentsia in Harlem in the early and center part of the twenties. Post-war American would possibly still be decided to deny the Negro social, political and economic equality, however art was another matter. It was the chink within the racist’s armour. (Williams, A. p 5)

DuBois believed that art may bridge cultural gaps between black and white Americans if black artists were given the opportunity to discover their talents, because, he reasoned, artwork can inculcate a way of cultural heritage and id to an oppressed group. For DuBois, African culture and African American heritage were rich enough to assist blacks in the United States regain their political and cultural consciousness.

DuBois began a discussion board of debate in the Crisis magazine, entitled, “How Should the Negro Be Portrayed?” during which he asked artists to put in writing in and
talk about what sorts of photographs of Black people should be disseminated by artists in America. While there was a large divergence on how much management must be imposed on what photographs artists ought to create, most believed that out of the higher entry to the publishing and artwork world would come an abandonment of the racist imagery that predominated in in style American tradition and justified, by dehumanizing Black individuals, the racist social and political practices that also abounded in America within the Twenties and 1930s. Du Bois even coined the phrase, “all artwork is propaganda” to replicate his view that the aim of an art motion amongst African Americans was to combat the negative propaganda towards the Negro coming from racist America with a positive propaganda for the Negro. (Powell, R.)

4. About Alain Locke.

For Alain Locke, propaganda was the slanted rhetoric that cautioned the Negro writers of the Harlem Renaissance to avoid. Being a Negro, he knew the harmful effects the contented slave stereotype of a Thomas Nelson Page, the buffoonery of an early Roark Bradford, and the savage beast in the works of Thomas Dixon had on his race. He new that the works of those authors, apart from presenting such insulting and distorted pictures, neither had verisimilitude nor have been they nice literature. (Linnemann, R.J. p 91)

African American philosopher – educator Alain LeRoy Locke (1886 – 1954) performed an influential role in identifying, nurturing, and publishing the works of young black artists through the New Negro Movement. His philosophy served as a robust motivating force in keeping the energy and keenness of the Movement at the forefront. He spent his life seeking to know the nature of cultural conflicts and suggesting measures that should be taken to cut back conflict and permit harmony to prevail. A elementary query that lingered in his mind was: How can a multiethnic society, such as that within the United States organize itself in order that its diverse groups can reside together without intense violent conflicts? (Washington, J. p vii)

He served for many years as a md of the philosophy division at Howard University, but his primary contribution to American culture lies in his
efforts to make the general public aware of the Negro’s aesthetic achievements – from the art and artefacts of Africa to the poetry and novels of the American writer. (The Negro Almanac, p 990)

Alain Locke played an influential position in figuring out, nurturing, and publishing the works of younger black artists in the course of the New Negro Movement. His philosophy served as a robust motivating drive in preserving the energy and passion of the Movement on the forefront. Ernest Mason explains that:

“…much of the creative work of the interval was guided by the ideal of the New Negro which signified a spread of ethical ideals that always emphasised and intensified a higher sense of group and social cohesiveness. …The writers…literally expected liberation…from their work and had been perhaps the first group of Afro-American writers to imagine that artwork might radically transform the artist and attitudes of different human beings.” (Dictionary of Literary Biography

p 313)

As a pioneer collector, Locke was one of many first Americans to write down in regards to the significance of African artwork, demonstrating its importance far beyond an influence on the cubists and different members of the European creative avant-garde. He wished all African Americans, in particular contemporary African American artists, to seek inspiration and take delight of their rich creative heritage. To this end he lectured, organized numerous exhibitions, and wrote the introductions for a quantity of landmark catalogs of African artwork. (

In his anthology “The New Negro” (written in 1925) Alain Locke wanted to show that Afro – Americans are in a place to produce artwork and literature in addition to white individuals.

He discussed the worth of black art when it comes to its contribution to neighborhood. In his defining essay of 1925, “Enter the New Negro,” as an example, Locke urges younger artists to embrace the fullness of their heritage, old customs married to new possibilities. Once once more, Locke emphasizes the purpose for artists in doing so: the duty of those artists to be leaders for their individuals. In Locke’s words:

“With his renewed self-respect and self-dependence, the lifetime of the Negro neighborhood is bound to enter a model new dynamic section, the buoyancy from inside compensating for whatever strain there may be of conditions without. The migrant lots, shifting from countryside to city, hurdle several generations of expertise at a leap, however extra important, the same factor happens spiritually within the life-attitudes and self-expression of the Young Negro, in his poetry, his art, his training and his new outlook, . . . From this comes the promise and warrant of a model new leadership.”(Locke, A.: Enter The New Negro” in: Bracey, J. p 222)

The “New Negro” emerged from within the black neighborhood, in contrast to the white stereotyped literary picture of the comic and pathetic plantation black. Alain Locke is acknowledged as the main black philosopher who asked blacks to acknowledge their African heritage as “New Negroes”.

4.1. A. Locke -how did he wish to attain his aims?

Writing in 1928, Alain Locke, the influential philosopher of the Harlem Renaissance, noticed that the basic query for any anti-racist social agenda was “Art or Propaganda. Which?” (Locke, A.) Artists and writers of the movement regarded the Harlem Renaissance not merely as a spontaneous flourishing of African-American creativity however as a important historical second to be seized in order to alter the course of American racism.

Its social mission, as Locke and many others saw it, was to overturn the prevailing notion of Blacks as inferior to whites. Its effects could be two-fold: fostering pride amongst the Black population and addressing whites from a place of strength. Yet if the anti-racist social agenda of the Harlem Renaissance had been to achieve changing people’s minds about race, Locke believed, it couldn’t proceed rhetorically. Art might supply a brand new social imaginative and prescient; propaganda would solely exacerbate the polarization of Black and white positions. (Thompson, A.)

His strategy was to create a new and an personal esthetic to find a way to strenghten the standing and the self-confidence of African-Americans. (http://userpage.fu

For A. Locke artwork ist he best means to prove that Black tradition and art is pretty a lot as good as the culture and the art of white people.

“… Art in the most effective sense is rooted in self – expression and whether naive or sophisticated is self – contained. In our religious progress genius and expertise must increasingly select the position of group expression, and even at instances the position of free individualistic expression – in a word should select art and put apart propaganda.” (Locke, A. “Art or Propaganda?” p 312)

The drawback with propaganda, he argued, is that it cannot reframe the phrases of the debate. To attempt to discredit racism is already to accord racist arguments a presumptive legitimacy.

“… My chief objection to propaganda, apart from its besetting sin of monotony and disproportion, is that it perpetuates the place of group inferiority even in crying out towards it. For it speaks underneath the shadow of a dominant majority whom it harangues, cajoles, threatens, or supplicates. It is simply too extroverted for steadiness or poise or inner dignity and self-respect. …” (Locke, A. Ibid. p 312. )

Propaganda, in Locke’s view, is inevitably either defensive or strident, if not both. By distinction, artwork “is rooted in self-expression and whether naive or subtle is self-contained.” (Locke,A. Ibid. p 312) Creating its personal terms for understanding and appreciation, art allows us to sidestep the obtained, typical terms of which means, and to take up prospects introduced to us inside the “self-contained” realm of the person work. While art couldn’t “completely accomplish” the transformation needed to realign Black and white relations in American society, Locke believed that it might “lead the way.” (Locke, Ibid. p 312)

For probably the most half, due to this fact, the art and literature of the Harlem Renaissance had been expressive somewhat than artistic, artistic rather than argumentative. And it was specifically as a end result of they prevented propaganda, prevented engaging racist ideology instantly, that Locke believed that art and literature might teach the truth about blackness in the white world. For Locke, the educational worth of the motion consisted above all in its capability to represent blackness irrespective of the phrases set by a racist society. Disregarding standard perceptions and assumptions, artwork could provide an objective look at black experience, physiognomy, and heritage. (Thompson, A. p 18)

Key to Locke’s notion of art as schooling is its avoidance of argumentation. For him, the problem posed by propaganda is not that it serves a selected agenda – clearly, he meant for artwork to serve a definite social, political, and mental agenda. The problem with propaganda, as he noticed it, is that it’s reactive, and thus reliant upon the very assumptions it’s meant to displace. Unlike the more familiar opposition between propaganda and common sense or between propaganda and open inquiry, Locke’s art/propaganda dichotomy means that crucial obstacle to social understanding may be a form of literal-mindedness: accepting our beginning factors as a given and looking for change via incremental changes.

In impact, then, Locke rejects the kind of approach to selling interracial understanding taken by liberal education. In the normal liberal arts mannequin, the trail to a freer understanding is thru careful analysis, reasoned argumentation, and dialogue. But from Locke’s perspective, that method reintroduces at every turn the very assumptions that preclude a transformed understanding. Particularly in the case of Black/white relations, what is called for is a reorientation in our pondering somewhat than the correction of every error in current understandings. As a pragmatist, Locke noticed change not in phrases of incremental enchancment however by way of shifts: adopting new positions and getting into into new relations.

Whereas propaganda, in Locke’s formulation, refers to an emendatory or editing impulse, art refers again to the improvement of recent views. The significance of artwork lies in its refusal to read social convention literally. As a metaphor for anti-racist education, it means, partially, problematizing the supposedly neutral requirements that privilege whiteness, and, partially, reconceiving each whiteness and Blackness. In invoking art as the alternative of propaganda, though, Locke grants an extreme amount of to artwork. By holding on to Enlightenment assumptions about fact, Locke proposes a misleading role for artwork as somehow apolitical in distinction to propaganda as inherently ideological.

The romantic strain in Locke’s conception of artwork is revealed in his perception that “the art of the people,” particularly peoples of African ancestry, is “…a tap root of vigorous, flourishing living.” (Locke, A. “Art or Propaganda” p 313) Such artwork, he believed, is the source of a magnificence that reveals reality, for not like educational artwork, it has not been subjected to “generations of the inbreeding of favor and idiom,” (Locke, A. “The Legacy of the Ancestral Arts,” p 258) nor lost the capacity to see objectively.

“The Negro physiognomy should be freshly and objectively conceived by itself patterns whether it is ever to be significantly and importantly interpreted. Art must uncover and reveal the wonder which prejudice and caricature have overlaid. And all very important art discovers magnificence and opens our eyes to that which previously we could not see. “(Locke,A. Ibd. p 264)

Art, Locke believed, offered a method to break with old stereotypes and invent new forms, while remaining true to “some type of attribute idiom,” (Locke,A. Ibd. p 267) is a distinctive heritage and expressive style. Pragmatist that he was, he saw artwork as a method to come to expertise each with a recent eye and with the funded expertise of a rich ancestral legacy.

(Thompson, A. in: “Anti-Racist Pedagogy: Art or Propaganda?”)

5. What is it that DuBois and Locke have in common?

A. Locke and W.E.B. DuBois had different opinions in regards to the question whether artwork or propaganda is the best method to combine the African – Americans into the American society. I have written about W.E.B. DuBois ,who is for propaganda, and about A. Locke, who’s for art, thus far. What we should always remember is: basically they wanted the same. The thing they’ve in common is that they often had the identical ideas: they wanted to do domething for the African – Amerians, they needed a “racial uplift”. (

One example is the idea of schooling and the concept of a Black elite, which they both shared.

It is clear that DuBois and Locke felt that the Black elite (or Talented Tenth) have been to articulate the Black beliefs for which the plenty were to strive. A task that required members of the Talented Tenth to be properly educated. For DuBois, no less than Locke, insisted that an training that allowed Blacks to attain cultural freedom and autonomy can be an training that exposed the chosen Black youth to the higher cultural values – the arts, music, drama, poetry, and history, aimed on the improvement of labouring skills. Alain Locke, at least W.E.B DuBois, targeted on Blacks cultural contributions to America. Hence, the significance of teaching the Black elite, who would function Socratic midwives in such creative efforts. (Washington, p 22 ff.)

Significant social transformations occurred, in accordance with Locke, through the hassle of what he referred to as the black elite – the proficient, properly educated, cultured class of Blacks that distinguished itself from the Black masses by way of the former’s contributions to the development of art and culture. The black elite took initiative in the realm of human affairs. It was involved with helping to form, among other issues, public policy. Booker T. Washington, Alain Locke, W.E.B. DuBois, Mary Bethune, Zora Hurston, Roland Hayes, Paul Robeson, Countee Cullen, Ida B. Wells, Langston Huges, Marian Anderson, James Weldon Johnson – these have been among the Black elite during Locke’s time.

It was their creative and political actions to the civil rights actions of the 1960s that advanced the social – political status of Black Americans, and induced the nation to make a more severe dedication to the principle of equality. Indeed, members of the Black elite impressed Africans on the continent of Africa within the 1950s and early Nineteen Sixties as they sought to rid themselves of European colonial rule. In a word, the American Black elite, especially through the trouble of W.E.B. DuBoi’s Pan – African movement, was instrumental in helping to dissolve the closed societies on the continent of Africa, societies nurtured and sustained by colonialism. (Washington, p 34)

In his speech, “The Training of Negroes for Social Power,” Dr. DuBois set forth clearly and absolutely his views on the time of the sort of schooling he felt was important for his people.

“…The Negro problem, it has typically been stated, is largely a problem of ignorance – not simply of illiteracy, however a deeper ignorance of the world and its methods, of the thought and experience of men; an ignorance of self and the probabilities of human souls. This can be gotten rid of only by training; and primarily such coaching must take the form of that kind of social leadership which we name schooling. … The very first step in direction of settlement of the Negro downside is the spread of intelligence.” (Foner, p 132 ff)


W.E.B. DuBois emphasised that artwork must have a operate. It just isn’t the wonder which is necessary. In his magazine “The Crisis” he wrote: “We want Negro writers to provide beautiful issues however we stress the issues rather than the beauty. It is Life and Truth which might be essential and Beauty comes to make their importance visible and tolerable.”

Locke instructed that fellow artists of the Harlem Renaissance all the time strive for artwork and avoid propaganda. Unfortunately, nonetheless, he felt that there have been very few “purely creative publications”, as most of their expressions had been included within the “avowed organs of social actions and arranged social programs.” He felt that there should be discussion of social issues, but propaganda is simply too one-sided to serve that operate, and there should be some means of bringing all views to the table. However, he never claimed that art can serve this operate, and merely hypothesized such a forum of ideas. (Cabrera, J.)

DuBois doubted if one might actually have a disembodied art or magnificence ; but Locke was not seeking for the Negro writer a disembodied beauty. He expected “tangible” results from the Negro figuring out himself by way of his folks cultural experiences, particulary given the Negro’s particular circumstances as an American citizen throughout the wider American cultural custom. (Linnemann, R.J. p 92)

I assume it is important to point out that W.E.B. DuBois was for propaganda but he didn’t totally reject art so lengthy as artwork has a message.

DuBois had a strong sense of race delight and saw nice worth in drawing upon the racial heritage. He was an early advocate of using black folks music for classical American music tradition. Though he felt that artwork and propaganda couldn’t be separated, he took the center – class place that characterization of black life ought to project a proper picture of the Negro. (Linnemann, R.J. p 78)

The query “Who was right?” is troublesome to answer. A. Locke noticed the brilliant thing about artwork but for my part every kind of artwork has a message and is subsequently roughly propaganda. One cannot separate the phrases. Artist are just capable of influence the kind of propaganda once they create provocative works however it’s not attainable to produce art only for arts sake.


Bracey, John H. ed.: African American Mosaic, Volume Two – From 1865 To The Present. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2004.

Locke, Alain: “Art or Propaganda?” in Voices from the Harlem Renaissance, ed. Nathan Irvin Huggins. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.

DuBois, W.E.B.: “The Negro Mind Reaches Out (excerpts)” The New Negro, An Interpretation. New York: Albert and Charles Boni, 1925, p. 385.

Foner, Philip Sheldon : W.E.B. Du Bois speaks – speeches and addresses
1890-1919. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970.

Linnemann, Russell J., ed. Alain Locke: Reflections on a contemporary Renaissance man. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1982.

Locke,A. “The Legacy of the Ancestral Arts,” in The New Negro: An Interpretation, ed. Alain Locke New York: Arno Press and the New York Times, 1968 (1925).

Marable, Manning: W.E.B.DuBois, Black Radical Democrat. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1986.

Ploski, Harry A. ed. The Negro Almanac : a reference work on the Afro-American.

Detroit: Gale Research, 1983.

Washington, Johnny: Alain Locke and philosophy : a quest for cultural pluralism. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986.

Weinberg, Meyer ed.: W.E.B. DuBois: A Reader. New York: Harper & Row, 1970.

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Cabrera, Jennifer. Art or Propaganda? 10 December 1999.< http://www.en. utexas. edu/


Moon, Henry Lee: History of the Crisis. November 1970. The Crisis Magazine Online 10.03.05

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Thompson, Audrey : Anti-Racist Pedagogy : Art or Propaganda? 27.02.2005. University of Utah

William H. Johnson Feb.16, 2000 25.02.05.

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