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Augusta Savage: Art Activist
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Augusta Savage: Art Activist


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Sculptor Augusta Savage in her studio working on her 1939 New York World's Fair monument Lift Every Voice and Sing. Courtesy of Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library.

About This Lesson

SEARCHING FOR AUGUSTA SAVAGE is a 22-minute documentary about one of America’s greatest sculptors whose footprint in the art world seems to have been erased.

Harlem Renaissance artist and educator Augusta Savage (1892-1962) was the first person in the U.S. to open a gallery dedicated to Black art and one of the first Black women art activists of her time who mentored a generation of Black artists, and fought for the funding of their work and their inclusion in mainstream art venues. The first documentary film made about Savage’s life and legacy investigates why nearly half of the approximately 160 pieces of sculpture she created are lost or missing today.

Created by the makers of UNLADYLIKE2020, narrated by art historian and curator Jeffreen M. Hayes, Ph.D. (traveling exhibit and book, Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman), with award-winning actor Lorraine Toussaint (Orange is the New Black, The Glorias, The Equalizer) providing dramatic readings of the words of Augusta Savage, SEARCHING FOR AUGUSTA SAVAGE premiered in February 2024 for Black History Month at and on the American Masters YouTube channel.

This film is a great teaching tool for social studies, history and art classes. Free standards-aligned educational resources based on the film look at topics such as: the Harlem Renaissance, the anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and the racism Savage experienced as a Black woman in the 1920s and 30s. This curriculum for grades 6 through 12 is available at PBS LearningMedia.

SEARCHING FOR AUGUSTA SAVAGE is a production of Audacious Women, LLC in association with American Masters Pictures and Black Public Media. Support was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; Heather L. Burns and Kathleen A. Maloy; Humanities New York; and Devin and Gina Mathews.




June 11, 2024
850 KB


Project Based Learning
June 11, 2024
4.68 MB

Representation in Harlem Renaissance Art_Teacher Support Materials.pdf

Lesson Plan
June 11, 2024
141.82 KB

Augusta Savage and Harlem Renaissance_Teacher Support Materials.pdf

Lesson Plan
June 11, 2024
156.89 KB
Searching for Augusta Savage | Full Documentary | American Masters Shorts | PBS
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