The program featured an exploration of the Harlem Renaissance, a time when black artists and musicians distinguished themselves in areas including music, song and painting.
Stephen Callahan, the Black Student Union co-adviser at West High, said the evening was a chance to highlight and remember accomplishments by black artists as their voices emerged just after the turn of the 20th century.
“I wanted the kids to have a chance to explore their history, and looking at a specific time allows them to focus,” Callahan said. “The Harlem Renaissance was a time — in the 1920s — where there was an explosion of black artistic expression.”
Students took turns before the audience reciting poetry and giving presentations on the history of the period.
Showing some of the dramatic talent, sophomore Daniel Broadnax joined with other students in presenting a scene from the 1959 play “A Raisin in the Sun.”
Broadnax said it was important to study the Harlem Renaissance and celebrate a time when black artists were emerging.
“It was time when black people got to stand up and show the world what we were capable of in music and art,” he said. “It helped the black community stand out and show who they were.”
Art in Shades of Black also displayed paintings by local artists and included samples some from black jazz musicians.
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