Ever so often a social and political movement merges with an arts movement to create a uniquely vibrant environment that impacts communities for generations. The Black Arts Movement that began in 1967, and reached its zenith in the early 1980s, was such a cultural moment in this country. Two social/political movements would greatly impact the decade: African independence and American Civil Rights. As the Civil Rights Movement in America grew to gain international attention, young and creative people took an increasingly more active role. Their study and acceptance of Pan-Africanism, their identification with the words of Malcolm X and James Baldwin, and their ardent call for Black Power shifted the movement from a conciliatory call for justice to a more forceful call to political action and radical self-determination. Local artists responded by embracing African cultures, rhythms, and design motifs. This was exemplified in their dress, hairstyles, art themes, writing, and performance.
As the Black Arts Movement grew, galleries and cultural centers