Roberta Smith reports in the New York Times (Aug. 16) that Hale Woodruff’s breathtaking set of murals, made for Talladega College in 1938, has arrived at an NYU gallery (the exhibition closes on Oct. 13th). Smith praises the “indomitable optimism” of the murals, arguing that they “teach history by making it visually riveting.” Three of the six murals expressively tell the story of the 1839 uprising on the slave ship Amistad. Click the link above to see one of Amistad series.
Hale Woodruff posing in front of one of the Talladega murals depicting the Underground Railroad
Photo credit: Library of Congress via FSA/OWI
We previously reported on the murals’ national tour in Atlanta and Chicago. At the end of the tour, the murals will return to their home in Talladega, but this exhibition in New York (their first) is a homecoming of sorts. It was likely on the strength of this work that Woodruff received Rosenwald Fund fellowships in 1943 and 1944, which allowed him to move to New York where he would work and teach until he passed away in 1980.