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Black Power Exhibition Resource Guide: The Look

Resources to complement the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture's "Black Power!' exhibition (2017). Guide by Amanda Belantara.

Black Power Exhibition Logo

In many respects, fashion was the most immediate and obvious marker of Black Power’s influence, while it simultaneously reflected the ideological diversity of the movement itself. Many younger African Americans, regardless of the degree to which they were politically active, donned Afros, African-inspired clothes, or sartorial inflections of militancy, often associated with organized black nationalist or revolutionary organizations.

Fashion was a clear declaration of what some called the “new black mood,” which swept Black America. The fundamental thrust of Black Power was black self-determination, and a very clear affirmation of black people’s humanity. To that end, racial pride was inextricably tied to the cosmetics of blackness.

-Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar, University of Connecticut, Amherst