Challenging and difficult issues such as race and class are not easy to discuss in words. But marginalized artists and creatives—those placed in the margins based on their racial, ethnic, or sexual identity—can have a profound sense of such issues, in part because they are so deeply affected by them.
The life of Harlem Renaissance artist Augusta Savage illustrates this principle. Savage was a working artist, arts educator, and organizer during a time—the Great Depression and World War II—when being an artist, Black, and a woman presented challenges to one’s survival. But her legacy, both as a public intellectual and a pioneering artist, continues into the 21st century. Jeffreen asserts that examining and re-examining the role of artists and creatives as public intellectuals adds a different perspective on our culture’s most polarizing topics.