Emerging from a matrix of Old Left, black nationalist, and bohemian
ideologies and institutions, African American artists and
intellectuals in the 1960s coalesced to form the Black Arts
Movement, the cultural wing of the Black Power Movement. In this
comprehensive analysis, James Smethurst examines the formation of
the Black Arts Movement and demonstrates how it deeply influenced
the production and reception of literature and art in the United
States through its negotiations of the ideological climate of the
Cold War, decolonization, and the civil rights movement.
Taking a regional approach, Smethurst examines local expressions of
the nascent Black Arts Movement, a movement distinctive in its
geographical reach and diversity, while always keeping the frame of
the larger movement in view. The Black Arts Movement, he argues,
fundamentally changed American attitudes about the relationship
between popular culture and "high" art and dramatically transformed
the landscape of public funding for the arts.