The saying you must acknowledge your past in order to fully understand your present is a very clear and true saying. Without learning what there was before you will be left to walk in a dim, damp room full of wonders, one eye closed and the other lazily seeking an exit, yet turned away from the door of opportunity. The world can be scary and confusing without assistance that is why there were some willing to make mistakes and blaze the trail that has become the leading pathway for many evolving artists today and the years to come. Creative minds such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and James Van Der Zee, just to name a couple were famous painters who emerged in the art world as influential leaders of their time. In the 1970’s, Basquiat drew in the era known as Neo-Expressionism and Van Der Zee emerged in the Harlem Renaissance era as a photographer for the Harlemites, photographing moments of both good and bad in the Black working class community. Their works are shown as a milestone in Black history and the importance of freedom of self expression.