Aaron Douglas


Aaron Douglas Reyneau painted Douglas's portrait in front of "Song of the Towers," the last in a series of four murals Douglas had painted in 1934, under the sponsorship of the Works Progress Administration. The series traces African Americans' history from their origins in Africa, through slavery, emancipation, and the great migration from the rural South to the industrialized, urban North. "Song of the Towers" addresses African Americans' entry into the northern cities.



A major artist of the Harlem Renaissance movement, Aaron Douglas moved to New York from his native Kansas, feeling himself drawn to Harlem by newspaper articles reporting the flowering of black cultural awareness. There he met and studied with the German artist Winold Reiss, who encouraged him to celebrate his racial heritage and introduce African motifs and themes into his paintings.

Considered by many historians to be the father of black American art, Douglas was a frequent contributor to The Crisis magazine and was the only African American artist featured in Alain Locke's classic anthology of black writers, The New Negro (1925). Douglas is best remembered for his illustrative collaboration with author James Weldon Johnson in his book of poetry, God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse.


Source: http://www.npg.si.edu/exh/harmon/dougharm.htm 

Birthplace: Topeka, Kansas.
Born: 1900
Died: 1979


Errors and Omissions

The Forum

What's new?

We are looking for your help to improve the accuracy of The Douglas Archives.

If you spot errors, or omissions, then please do let us know


Many articles are stubs which would benefit from re-writing. Can you help?


You are not authorized to add this page or any images from this page to Ancestry.com (or its subsidiaries) or other fee-paying sites without our express permission and then, if given, only by including our copyright and a URL link to the web site.


If you have met a brick wall with your research, then posting a notice in the Douglas Archives Forum may be the answer. Or, it may help you find the answer!

You may also be able to help others answer their queries.

Visit the Douglas Archives Forum.


2 Minute Survey

To provide feedback on the website, please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey.


We try to keep everyone up to date with new entries, via our What's New section on the home page.

We also use the Community Network to keep researchers abreast of developments in the Douglas Archives.

Help with costs

Maintaining the three sections of the site has its costs.  Any contribution the defray them is very welcome



If you would like to receive a very occasional newsletter - Sign up!