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Aaron Douglas was born on May 26 1899 in Topeka Kansas He was the son of a baker and his mother was from Alabama He had several brothers and sisters Douglass family struggled financially all through his childhood But insisted that their children educated themselves He was encouraged at an early age by his mother to continue his creative interest in art His drawings and paintings were welcomed on the walls of the Douglas home His decision in becoming an artist came from his exposure to the African American printer Henry Ossawa Tanner and his Christ and Nicodemus painting done in 1899 He was optimistic adventurous and self-confident he was determined to become an artist determined to receive the best training possible and convinced that he should play a ole role in the changing fortunes and fate of his race This was Aaron Douglass view and his desire in life which would proof to be a success Douglas worked little odd jobs in different states after high school to save up for college This also proved to be a positive experience as well as learning for Douglas it inspired him to want to learn more He enrolled at the University of Nebraska and attended until 1922 when he received a bachelor in fine arts He would also later get another bachelors in arts from the University of Kansas During the Harlem Renaissance the name of Aaron Douglas was preeminent as an artist among his colleagues and the leading writers and leading intellectuals of the day Because he was able to reproduce illustrations for books and magazines his services were in high demand Important figures such as WEB DuBois called upon Douglas to put pictures to his thoughts and writings about topics such as lynching and segregation He was to give a visual image to the issues that were affecting black people And also a way to portray images of the new emerging black
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