J usticeAid believes in justice and the power of art to bring us together in the fight for a more equitable nation and world. This year, in parallel with our fundraising for Black Voters Matter, each month we will highlight Black artists in order to uplift those whose voices have been muted, and whose visions can help us all see ourselves as we really are, and as we could be.


Photo: Audra Melton, The New York Times, REDU

JusticeAid’s grantee partner, Black Voters Matter, was co-founded by Latosha Brown, a woman who combines the courage and genius of her civil rights work with the power and beauty of her soulful singing voice. An organizer, a Blazer of Black joy, and one of the nation’s top voter engagement activists, Brown often incorporates deeply moving songs into her speeches for social justice and revolutionary change. Listen to I Know I’ve Been Changed,” as she goes back to the gospel roots imparted by her grandmother in Selma, Alabama.


In 1972, Shirley Chisholm, America’s first Black woman elected to Congress, boldly made a run for the Presidency of the United States. She was a Democrat, but the establishment didn’t support her, so she cobbled together a coalition of Black activists, feminists, and young people who believed in her populist message. Shola Lynch’s documentary, Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed, chronicles Chisolm’s adventures on the campaign trail while reflecting on her wit, spirit, and charisma. The film is a timely reminder of Chisholm’s groundbreaking work to push the limits and reach for the levers of power. 


The former Minister of Culture and Revolutionary Artist for the Black Panther Party, Emory Douglas (1943-present) helped define the aesthetics of protest at the height of the Civil Rights era, cementing his status among the 20th century’s most influential radical political artists. His bold, figurative illustrations and photomontages appeared on the covers and interiors of the organization’s eponymous newspaper, The Black Panther from 1967 to 1980.

True to the mission of the Black Panther Party, Douglas’ work featured revolutionaries wielding weapons, depictions of police as pigs, and messages such as “Revolution In Our Lifetime.” While the Panthers’ goals shifted in the 1970s to community assistance programs like free lunch and healthcare for children, Douglas continued to focus on the organization’s core issues until 1980, when the Party disbanded. Read this 2020 Artnet interview with Douglas about the power of digital media and protest art.

Featured Speech

A young Melba Pattillo Beals, two years before she helped integrate Little Rock’s Central High School
Testament: The Little Rock Nine Salute by John and Cathy Deering, Arkansas State Capitol

Melba Pattillo Beals was one of the group of students who became known as the Little Rock Nine. On September 12, 1958 Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus ordered all Little Rock public schools closed for the academic year rather than allow integration. The Black students who eventually entered Little Rock schools faced mob violence and daily harassment and cruelty.

Beals’ memoir, written from her perspective as a high school student thrust into the raging fight over segregation, rings across all the decades that have since passed. The book posed moral questions that we must still confront today. When will we decide to create a nation with true racial justice? When will all Americans be free?

Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High
By Melba Pattillo Beals

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