Aaron Douglas


Aaron Douglas was born in Topeka, Kansas on May 26, 1899. He is known for being an African American painter and graphic designer who played a very important role in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. He got his education at Topeka High School and the University of Nebraska then started his career in being an illustrator and designer. He first started teaching at Fisk University and he stayed there for 27 years.

Arriving in Harlem in 1925, Douglas quickly became aware and immersed in Harlem’s cultural life. He contributed into making illustrations to the National Urban League’s magazine, and the Crisis that occurred in the time period. A lot of Harlem Renaissance writers prompted requests from him which made him grow in popularity back then. He received his first major commission and that was to illustrate Alain LeRoy Locke’s book, “The New Negro”. He is sometimes referred to as “the father of black American art.”

In 1926, Aaron Douglas married a teacher named Alta Sawyer who was a teacher. The two of them met in 1917 but Sawyer was with somebody else. The couple’s Harlem home became a social Mecca 4 famous people like Langston Hughes and W.E.B Du Bois, along with other powerful African Americans of the early 1900s.

Aaron Douglas was known for creating some of the most exquisite pieces of art you can ever find around. In 1930, he was hired to create a moral for the library at the University he taught. In 1933, Douglas had his first art show and soon after, started his legendary works. It was a series of morals entitled “Aspects of Negro Life” that featured four panels. Each of those panels were depicting the struggles and successes of African American experience. Each Morrow included a mix of Douglass’s influences such as jazz music to abstract art.

in the late 1930s, Douglas return the Fisk University to be an assistant professor and founded the school’s art department. he took his educational responsibilities seriously when he enrolled at Columbia University’s Teachers College in 1941.he spent three years earning a master’s degree in art education and establish the Carl Van Vechten gallery at Fisk and collected some interesting works for his collection. Douglas remain committed to growing and improving as an artist. he received a fellowship from the Julius Rosenwald foundation in 1938, which funded his painting trip to Haiti and several other islands in the Caribbean. Aaron Douglas was and will be known as “The Hero of Harlem”.