At the turn of the 20th century Black artists and intellectuals reclaimed the importance of connecting to traditional African cultures and artistic practices. Creating pathways to ancestral ways of remembering, they developed new cultural vocabularies, ways of sensing, seeing-thinking, and perceiving. A new cultural identity of Blackness transcended, founded on the actualization of self and the collective through genetic ancestral memories.
Artists living in Harlem, Chicago, Philadelphia, Kentucky, North Carolina, along with Afro Caribbean immigrants in New York City, took upon the task of interculturally expressing the multiplicity of socio political and cultural experiences of African American communities. Throughout visual arts, literature, and music, the artists imagined alternative African based patterns, colors, volumes, rhythms, and narratives.
Reviving, revitalizing, and remembering the spectrum of Black life and its ancient roots, the artists interrupted colonial stereotypes by addressing the complexities of the African American experiences. In doing so they forged the cultural revival of collective experiences such as the New Negro Movement, the Harlem Renaissance, Social Realism, and Black Chicago.