From slavery to civil rights

American art shows us the reality and effects of racism and slavery, and often points the way to social justice.

Winslow Homer, <em>Taking Sunflower to Teacher</em>
Winslow Homer, Taking Sunflower to Teacher

Painted during Reconstruction, this sentimental watercolor depicts the hope of transformation and possibility

Michelle Browder, <i>Mothers of Gynecology</i>
Michelle Browder, Mothers of Gynecology

This memorial honors three women who were victims of medical experimentation by the "father of gynecology"

Winslow Homer, <i>Army Teamsters</i>
Winslow Homer, Army Teamsters

Is this painting of five men, possibly formerly enslaved, working for the Union Army during the Civil War a product of racist stereotypes, or does it humanize its subjects?

Literacy and slavery: David Drake, <em>Double-handled jug</em>
Literacy and slavery: David Drake, Double-handled jug

Enslaved artist David Drake inscribed a poem onto this jug at a time when literacy among enslaved people was outlawed

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice (Equal Justice Initiative)
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice (Equal Justice Initiative)

The first monument to commemorate the over 4,000 African Americans who were lynched in the early 20th century.

A modern icon: Beauford Delaney’s <i>Marian Anderson</i>
A modern icon: Beauford Delaney’s Marian Anderson

Delaney celebrates the famous opera singer Marian Anderson as a modern icon of Black excellence and civil rights

Thelma Streat, <i>Girl with Bird</i>
Thelma Streat, Girl with Bird

Is the bird real or imagined?

Slave Burial Ground, University of Alabama
Slave Burial Ground, University of Alabama

A 2004 plaque is the only marker of burial grounds of enslaved people who died while enslaved by the University of Alabama and its faculty

Monument Avenue and the Lost Cause
Monument Avenue and the Lost Cause

A conversation that took place on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, just before the last Confederate monument on the boulevard was removed in September 2021

Vertis Hayes, <em>The Lynchers</em>
Vertis Hayes, The Lynchers

A horrifying painting of racial violence that can help us see where we are and where we need to be in terms of tolerance and empathy

Nast and Reconstruction: understanding a political cartoon
Nast and Reconstruction: understanding a political cartoon

Thomas Nast's cartoon urges its viewers to confront white supremacy.