Black Power and Black Madonna: Charting the Aesthetic Influence of Rev. Albert Cleage, Glanton Dowdell & the Shrine of the Black Madonna, #1
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From his pulpit, Albert B. Cleage Jr. weighed in on a controversy, boldly asserting, “Jesus was a black Messiah born to a black woman. The pictures of the black Madonna which are all over the world did not all turn black through some mysterious accident.” This statement exemplifies the aesthetic perspective Rev. Cleage actively promoted during the 1960s and marks one aspect of his contribution to the Black Arts Movement: establishing a Christian icon as visual symbol for Black Power. Dialoging with Black Art Movement figures such as Amiri Baraka and Elridge Cleaver, Cleage and the Shrine of the black Madonna remains absent from art histories, despite the fact that they were active participants in shaping this Black Arts Movement history.