My husband's mother recently died, and I believe a piece of artwork she left behind
might be of interest to your museum. Titled "Washday Blues," it dates back to the
1920s or '30s. It is a drawing of a black toddler with angel wings sitting on a cloud
"playing" a washboard like a harp and, apparently, singing. She has a halo of what
looks like bent wire clipped to her hair with a clothespeg. The image is about 10-by-13
inches, and it is in a larger frame, maybe 15-by-20.
My mother-in-law loved this print, which my husband says made him uncomfortable even
as a child. It is certainly nothing we want to hang in our house (!), but I do feel
it has historical value. I have looked through the sections on your museum's Website
for children and picaninnies, which this artifact certainly fits, and found nothing
My husband would be happy to donate this piece to the museum and pay for shipping
if you are interested. It would be nice to know it was preserved in a place dedicated
to exploring and remembering the popular culture of racism in this country.
Evergreen Park, Ill.
-- Feb. 4, 2005
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