Important things to know about Romare Bearden:
1. He was born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1911, into a college-educated and relatively financially successful middle-class African-American family, which was not ordinary for the time, especially in the Deep South.
2. Despite the family's success, pervasive Southern racism set limits on their lives and livelihoods. With the installation of the Jim Crows Laws, which made racial segregation the law of the land, the Beardens and other African-American families were condemned to racial secondary social status. In the South, during the period 1880 to 1940, there was deep-seated and all-pervading hatred and fear of the African-American population.
3. The Beardens relocated to the urban North along with hundreds of thousands of African Americans who likewise left the rural South behind for what they hoped would be racial equality and greater financial and educational opportunities. The Great Migration, as this mass movement of people was called, became an important subject for many African-American artists.
4. Harlem, New York became his home. He lived across the street from the Lafayette Theater.
5. His father was a pianist. That’s where Romare got his love of music.
6. His parents were part of the Harlem Renaissance. Many famous African-American poets, writers, and musicians visited their home in Harlem.
7. Romare was college educated.
8. He was a semiprofessional baseball player, a soldier in WW2, and a musician before he became a professional artist.
9. He painted with oils and watercolors before he discovered collage. He found his own voice by creating collages made of cut and torn photographs found in popular magazines that he then reassembled into visually powerful statements on African-American life. The artist's subject matter encompassed the urban milieu of Harlem, traveling trains, migrants, spiritual "conjure" women, the rural south, jazz, and blues musicians, and African-American religion and spirituality.
10. Bearden's greatest legacy is as a role model for all artists in trusting one's own vision. Bearden forged his own path and began making collages specific to his experiences as an African American man. Finally, Bearden's importance is in revising the art of collage for the American story.
11. Died of bone cancer in 1988.
12. Jazz music was his favorite. Define Jazz music. Listen to jazz during project time,
13. Collage was his most favorite medium. What is a collage? How do you make one?