<ul><li>The Black Arts Movement (BAM) spans the period from the mid 1960's to the mid 1970's. </li></ul><ul><li>Both inherently and overtly political in content, the Black Arts movement was the only American literary movement to advance "social engagement" as a sine qua non of its aesthetic. The movement broke from the immediate past of protest and petition (civil rights) literature and dashed forward toward an alternative that initially seemed unthinkable and unobtainable: Black Power. </li></ul><ul><li>Although often criticized as sexist, homophobic, and racially exclusive (i.e., reverse racist), Black Arts was much broader than any of its limitations. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Black Arts Movement is radically opposed to any concept of the artist that alienates him from his community. Black Art is the aesthetic and spiritual sister of the Black Power concept. As such, it envisions an art that speaks directly to the needs and aspirations of Black America. In order to perform this task, the black Arts Movement proposes a radical reordering of the Western cultural aesthetic. It proposes a separate symbolism, mythology, critique, and iconology. The Black Arts and the Black Power concept both relate broadly to the Afro-American’s desire for self-determination and nationhood. Both concepts are nationalistic. One is politics; the other with the art of politics. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Recently, these two movements have begun to merge: the political values inherent in the Black Power concept are now finding concrete expression in the aesthetics of Afro-American dramatists, poets, choreographers, musicians, and novelists. A main tenet of Black Power is the necessity for Black people to define the world in their own terms. The Black artist has made the same point in the context of aesthetics. The two movements postulate that there are in fact and in spirit two Americas—one black, one white. </li></ul>
One major contributor to The Black Arts Movement, Stockley Carmichael, stated that the emergence of this movement was an outcry to the injustice done to black people and the death of Malcolm X........... (link) Other means for rebellion were aimed at social reform. In Black Awakening in Capitalist America, author Robert Allen states social programs such as retraining programs were frequently unrealistic in terms of the number of jobs that were actually available. The programs that were instituted did not accommodate those at the bottom of the economic ladder. Many women who were in these social programs felt that they were being trained for unemployment. Such conditions as these of oppression led to the formation or the beginning of Black America as a separate entity of the American society.
<ul><li>The founding principles of this new Black America created by the Black Arts Movement focused on black power, black economics, political success, and a restructuring of the community that had been destroyed by riots and police brutality. Instituting these principles was done by using literature, art, social institutions , and black activist groups as a channel. The major players were writers such as Leroi Jones , Larry Neal, Maulana Karenga, and Dudley Randal. Most of their work centered on literary works describing social conditions, commenting political activity, and creating community establishments for the fine arts. There were also some prominent women during this time, although they may be marginalized at times. Women such as Sonia Sanchez, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lorraine Hansberry, and Nikki Giovanni can be recognized for their contributions in the literary aspects as well. </li></ul>