Roots & Branches of the 20th Century Black Arts Movement: Paul, Ossie & Alvin
“…this ambivalence we feel…It is the ambivalence that expresses the Black situation in American racist society expressing itself in relationship to the people and one of its heroes. We are all victims of this ambivalence. We are split right down the middle…as individuals, as artists, everything we do…” —Ossie Davis on Paul Robeson
Paul Robeson was perhaps one of the most influential artists and social critics of the 20th century. His impact on the Black Arts Movement reaches across the globe and throughout time. The analytical framework used in the racial literacy and justice class at Princeton High School will be used to provide perspective on the life and legacy of Princeton’s Native Son.
The translation and transformation of [his] voice and likeness into the colorful visualization of dance has a resonant quality and characteristic that can only be described as an antiracist aesthetic.This presentation will elucidate how the iconic voice and presence of Paul Robeson influenced the artistry and storytelling of Ossie Davis and Alvin Ailey. Local artist Maya Bradley will perform interpretive dance alongside the lecture presentation of Dr. Joy Barnes-Johnson, Program Chair of the Paul Robeson House of Princeton and Princeton Public Schools Educator.