Larry Neal was an active member of the Black Arts Movement and is known as an influential scholar, philosopher, and and author. Neal was born in in Atlanta, Georgia in 1937 and grew up in Philadelphia. He earned a bachelor's degree from Lincoln University, and a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Neal is passionate about reinventing the black man living in a white man's world. Throughout the movement, Neal endeavored to bring forth a new art or aesthetic. Neal described this revolutionary art as "anything meaningful within its decaying structure" (Neal 29). From Neal's perspective, if the black man were to accept the western culture aesthetic of the black man, the black man would not be able to live.
Larry Neal and Amiri Baraka edited a collection of work known as Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing, which was published in 1968. The collection exemplifies The Black Arts Movement's effort to unearth and reinvent a new aesthetic that reflects the voice of the African American.
In addition to Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing, Neal also edited a number of journals and magazines throughout his writing career including, Liberator Magazine, Journal of Black Poetry, and the Cricket.
Neal's was published in a number magazines including, Black World, Liberator, Essence and Negro Digest. His literary work primarily consists of essays.
Neal's work, alongside LeRoi Jones', also known as Baraka, operated as material that would influence the origination of The Black Arts Repertory Theater and School, located in Harlem.
"The cultural values inherent in western history must either by radicalized or destroyed" -Larry Neal
The Black Art Aesthetic
The Black Art aesthetic builds from a foundation, the foundation being, the white man's art. From the white man's art foundation, Black Art endeavors to destroy and reinvent the western culture art. The Black Art perspective goes beyond the western culture by representing elements of the Third World culture. Black Art searches for truth and battles whoever or whatever what suppress it. The aesthetic is not only for a black audience, Black Art is for the improving the black race. Black Art improves the race by allowing black people to discover themselves, outside of western white culture.
The following are examples of artwork and artists from The Black Arts Movement.
If I were Jehovah
Jon Onye Lockard
Prevalence of Ritual:Mysteries