On this Fashion Friday, we celebrate Black History Month with a sampling of influential African American designers from the collection.

Woman’s Ensemble: Top and Skirt, 1971–72, by Stephen Burrows

Man’s Shirt, 1980s, by Willi Smith

Woman’s Ensemble: Jacket, Skirt, Cape, Belt, and Cap, Fall/Winter 1989, by Patrick Kelly

Woman’s “Snail Fantasy” Hat, 1993, by Carlos New York Hats
The African American Museum In Philadelphia Spotlights The Underground House Ball Scene With A New Photo Exhibit, On View June 12-August 16
House balls have played a significant role in the African American and Latino LGBTQ communities for decades. Now, the often-underground house ball culture takes the spotlight at the The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) this summer — just in time to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the LGBT Civil Rights Movement in Philadelphia […]

Painter Aaron Douglas was such an integral player in the Harlem Renaissance that many of his colleagues and peers referred to him as the “Father of African American Arts.” See some of his work in “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art.”

Birds In Flight,” 1927, by Aaron Douglas

Happy birthday to Faith Ringgold, born on this day in 1930 in Harlem, New York City. Ringgold is known for her narrative quilts, in which she fuses her training in the fine arts with her familial quilt-making and story-telling traditions to communicate her experience as an African American woman. In this quilt, Ringgold transforms her memories of childhood in Harlem to depict eight-year-old Cassie Louise Lightfoot’s dream of freedom.

Tar Beach 2” Quilt, 1990, by Faith Ringgold (Faith Ringgold © 1990)

Visit “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art” to see work by such artists as Jayson Musson. Billed as wearable art, Musson’s “sweater paintings” combine fine art and fashion. He stitched together ripped and stretched fragments of colorful Coogi-brand sweaters to create visually intriguing pieces. The one shown here is on view in gallery 124, and another is on view in the exhibition “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art.” See it today.

“Trying to find our spot off in that light, light off in that spot (detail),” 2014, by Jayson Musson

From Storefront to Monument: Tracing the Public History of the Black Museum Movement by Andrea A. Burns

Today well over two hundred museums focusing on African American history and culture can be found throughout the United States and Canada. Many of these institutions trace their roots to the 1960s and 1970s, when the struggle for racial equality inspired a movement within the black community to make the history and culture of African America more “public.”

This book tells the story of four of these groundbreaking museums: the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago (founded in 1961); the International Afro-American Museum in Detroit (1965); the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum in Washington, D.C. (1967); and the African American Museum of Philadelphia (1976). Andrea A. Burns shows how the founders of these institutions, many of whom had ties to the Black Power movement, sought to provide African Americans with a meaningful alternative to the misrepresentation or utter neglect of black history found in standard textbooks and most public history sites. Through the recovery and interpretation of artifacts, documents, and stories drawn from African American experience, they encouraged the embrace of a distinctly black identity and promoted new methods of interaction between the museum and the local community.

Over time, the black museum movement induced mainstream institutions to integrate African American history and culture into their own exhibits and educational programs. This often controversial process has culminated in the creation of a National Museum of African American History and Culture, now scheduled to open in the nation’s capital in 2015.

When the museum purchased “The Annunciation” in 1899, it was the first work by an African American artist purchased by a major museum in the United States. Now, over 200 years of collecting later, we’ve got an amazing collection we’re happy to show off in the upcoming exhibition “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art.”

The Annunciation,” 1898, by Henry Ossawa Tanner


Now Everywhere Surrounding (2013)

Berrisford Boothe 

Acrylic and mixed media, 34 inches diameter

Check out the incredible color and detail on Berrisford Boothe’s Now Everywhere Surrounding, newly installed for our exhibit As We See It: Selected Works from the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art, opening this week. Learn more about Boothe and his perspective on art here

Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., civil-rights pioneer, activist, humanitarian, youngest man to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

This year has stood in the glare of our still-unresolved civil rights struggles. But today peace is what I hope for everyone, that in honor of his memory we choose to adopt the spirit of his service by thinking about how we can help others. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” - Martin Luther King, Jr.


Image courtesy of @philamuseum …
John Woodrow Wilson
American, born 1922
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Charcoal on cream wove paper

125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with funds contributed by the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Museum and in celebration of African American art.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is now showing REPRESENT 200 Years of African American Art

#MLK #philamuseum

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Kara Walker explores the traumatic history of the transatlantic slave trade in her series of six etchings “An Unpeopled Land in Uncharted Waters.” See the whole series in “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art” on view until April 5.

no world,” 2010, by Kara Walker (© 2014 Kara Walker)

This Thursday, February 12th we will be hosting an exclusive pre-screening of Legend of Lead Belly, a new documentary that traces the life and legacy of Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, in partnership with the Smithsonian Channel and Comcast. AAMP Members* are invited to join us in watching how this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee overcame poverty and racism and became one of the great musicians of the 20th Century. Free event, RSVP required

*Visitors can sign up to be a member at this event. Memberships are discounted during Black History Month.