Aaron Douglas was born on May 26, 1899 in Topeka, Kansas. After he graduated from the University of Nebraska, he was a high school art teacher at Lincoln High School in Kansas City. He went to New York for the Harlem Renaissance because he wanted to interact with other artists like himself. The Harlem Renaissance supported African American culture, pride, and racial tolerance. Douglas was inspired by Winold Reiss, a German artist, who told him to look at his culture for inspiration. Aaron Douglas' work was used for magazine covers, book illustrations and covers, and advertisements during the Harlem Renaissance. He produced murals for colleges and libraries depicting life for African Americans during and after slavery. Also, he studied in Paris where he met other African American artists and escaped from racism and discrimination while he studied at the Academie Scandinave. Late in his life, he taught art at Fisk University. He died on February 22, 1979 in Nashville, Tennessee.