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 similar.
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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