On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s Behring Center, Aviva Kempner, filmmaker of “The Rosenwald Schools”, attended a Director’s Preview and Reception commemorated the opening of “Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College”. We reported here in August that it was likely that Woodruff was awarded his Rosenwald Fellowships in 1943 and 1944 on the strength of this work. Two of the Woodfruff works in this exhibit were painted under Rosenwald Fellowships, including the painting “Poor Man’s Cotton”. This support allowed Woodruff to move away from the segregated South, to New York City, where he worked and taught the rest of his life.
The murals depict chapters from African American history such as The Amistad Trial, and The Underground Railroad. Woodruff, like Julius Rosenwald, was a native of Illinois, born in Cairo.
The exhibit runs at the Museum of American History through March 1, 2015.
Woodruff working on the Talladega murals:
Photo credit: Library of Congress via FSA/OWI