Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Art in Art History and Visual Culture



First Advisor

Trenton Olsen

Second Advisor

James Hutson

Third Advisor

Kelly Scheffer


This thesis explores the works of artist and activist Faith Ringgold within the context of the Civil Rights movement in the United States. The Civil Rights era was a pivotal moment in American history, marked by racial segregation, violence, and discrimination against Black Americans. Against this backdrop, Ringgold's art emerged as a powerful tool for social critique and political activism. The thesis focuses on five of Ringgold's most significant works: Between Friends, The Civil Rights Triangle, The Flag is Bleeding, US Postage Stamp Commemorating the Advent of Black Power, and Die. These works span the period of the 1960s to the present day and represent different stages of Ringgold's artistic and political development. Through close analysis of these works, the thesis demonstrates how Ringgold used her art to challenge dominant narratives about race and power in America. Each work embodies different themes related to the Civil Rights movement, such as interracial relationships, Black Power, and police brutality. Ringgold's art also reflects the shifting political and cultural landscape of America during the Civil Rights era. Her use of bright colors, bold lines, and mixed media techniques speaks to the vibrant and dynamic cultural scene of the time. Overall, this thesis argues that Ringgold's art has made a significant contribution to the field of art and activism. By using her art to challenge dominant narratives about race and power, she has inspired generations of artists and activists to engage in political struggle through artistic expression.