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Holmes, Oakley, 1974 - 1977

 Item — Multiple Containers

Scope and Contents

Painter, sculptor, and art historian Oakley Holmes delivered 2 lectures that can be found on 3 reels (RR185 is a copy).

Holmes spoke on 2/15/1977 (2015-0002/RR4) and on 3/26/1974 (2015-0002/RR185 copy 1) (2015-0002/RR186 copy 2)

RR 4 Holmes stressed that African-American art is not based on 1 style or mode of thought; it is as varied as the many personalities that produce such works. He emphasized that white artists or artists of other colors also encounter great difficulties, but black artists have always found themselves at greater disadvantages.

Holmes informed students about black painters such as Robert Duncanson, John James Audubon, Edward Bannister, and Henry O. Tanner. He discussed black sculptors like Edmonia Lewis and Charles Alston whose bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the 1st image of an African-American displayed at the White House.

His 90 minute lecture addressed the difficulty black artists have in gaining art teaching positions and getting their work into prestige galleries. He asked students whether they saw ancient Egyptian art as ancient African art and advocated that textbooks and art history lectures need to recognize the importance of black artists in world art history. Holmes lamented how for too long students must go out of their way to find sources that highlight the influences of black artists. He closed his presentation with a slide show displaying the works of many different black artists. RR 185-186 Oakley Holmes discusses the activities of Afro American artists.


  • Creation: 1974 - 1977

Conditions Governing Access

Links to digitized content are included in the finding aid.

Biographical / Historical

Oakley Norman Holmes, Jr., was born in Richmond, Virginia, completed his undergraduate studies at Virginia State University (1965) and received his PhD. from Columbia University (1973). He has taught art for several years at Virginia State College. He is also an artist and has had several oneman and group shows. Dr. Holmes is most recognized for his comphrenseive research and publication of monographs and film producer identifying Black artists in the United States. He is the producer of the film Black artists in America : parts one through four (1970) and author of The complete annotated resource guide to Black American art : books, doctoral dissertations, exhibition catalogs, periodicals, films, slides, large prints, speakers, filmstrips, video tapes, Black museums, art galleries, and much more (1978). Little biographical information is available.

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3 Reels (Magnetic tape audio recordings ) : RR 4 1 reel, 1:30:55; tape speed 3¾ IPS; track position ½-Track Mono; Substrate: Polyester. RR 186 1 reel, Side A-1:05:47, Side B-0:12:11; tape speed 3¾ IPS; track position ½-Track Mono; Substrate: Polyester. The recordings were combined for ease of listening. The combined run time of the digital recording is 1:17:34.

Language of Materials

From the Series: English