“Searching out the New Land”: African American Identity and Folk Art during the World War II Period


John F. Moe (The Ohio State University)

During the 1940s, the Black community in the U.S. witnessed a growth of artists who created folk and vernacular art. Elijah Pierce is one of the important artists to emerge out of this movement. An established barber with his own barber shop, he was an accomplished artist in wood carving and won the National Heritage Award. This paper focuses on five works that Pierce created during the period leading up to the start of World War II that address the role of African Americans. Pierce explores the racial dilemma in the position of the Black community in America.

Part of 54-02 Identified/Identifying as Black: Folklife and African American Identity, Friday, October 22, 2:00 pm–3:30 pm