After the death of Martin Luther King Jr., Alabama produced an impressive number of African American self-taught artists whose work particularly focused on the Civil Rights Movement and on aspects of history that led to it. This happened, in part, because the action was right on their doorsteps: Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Selma March, the murder of four little girls in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. It was a spontaneous response to an emerging opportunity, and it occurred all over the South.
History Refused to Die documents this phenomenon by highlighting the men and women whose artistic accomplishments deserve to be recognized by American art history, identifying six various themes that run through the works of almost all of these Alabama artists: Slavery, Agricultural and Industrial Alabama, The African-American Woman, The Civil Rights Era, Surviving Modern Times, and Autobiography and Commemoration.
Featuring the work of fourteen African American artists from Alabama, including Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, Joe Minter, Ronald Lockett, Mose Tolliver, and several quilters from Gee's Bend, Alabama, this volume provides insight into black Alabama and African American visual expression through the presentation and analysis of more than 100 works of art.