Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Major Professor

Cheryl R. Rodriguez


Black Female Aesthetics, Black Revolution, Creative Expression, Cultural Identity


This project honors and recognizes the art and activism of four Black woman--Nina Simone, Nikki Giovanni, Elizabeth Catlett, and Ntozake Shange that contributed to the revolutionary movements of the 1960s through the early 1980s. This thesis examines the works and political challenges of Black women by asking what elements in their artistry/activism addressed issues specifically related to Black women's unique position in America during the Black Revolution and feminist movements? Both primary and secondary sources such as literature from advocates of the Black Arts Movements and the lyrics, poetry, and visual art of the four Black women artists were used to gain perspectives to answer the thesis major questions. The creative visions and activism of these Black women expressed the dire need for the issues of Black women to be heard and also to address all forms of oppression that Black women experience with race, gender, social or economic status, and even cultural identity. The works of these Black women were radical and were also cultural reflections of Black women embracing their idiosyncratic position as Black women despite the climate of perpetual deceptions used either by White Western ideologies or Black male chauvinism. This thesis concluded that when the concerns of Black women are attended to by their own strengths of character and merits, they are also able in return to contribute to their own self-empowerment as well as to the development of racial, gender, and community uplift.