Feb. 12 Art Minute: Elizabeth Catlett, A Second Generation

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Elizabeth Catlett (American, 1915-2012), A Second Generation. Color lithograph. 22 3/4 by 18 3/4 inches. Gift of Dr. Elizabeth Catlett, 2006.162f. Gallery 6.

Elizabeth Catlett (American, 1915-2012), A Second Generation. Color lithograph. 22 3/4 by 18 3/4 inches. Gift of Dr. Elizabeth Catlett, 2006.162f. Gallery 6.

In 1992 Elizabeth Catlett published a portfolio of six color lithographs based on the 1937 poem For My People by Margaret Walker (1915-1998). Walker was a talented, powerful voice of America whose writing emphasized the rich heritage of African American culture. “When she speaks of and for her people, older voices are mixed with hers—the voices of Methodist forebears and preachers who preached the Word, the anonymous voices of many who lived and were forgotten and yet out of bondage and hope made a lasting music,” wrote Stephen Vincent Benet.

A Second Generation corresponds to the stanza:

Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a bloody peace be written in the sky. Let a second generation full of courage issue forth; let a people loving freedom come to growth. Let a beauty full of healing and a strength of final clenching be the pulsing in our spirit and our blood. Let the martial songs be written, let the dirges disappear. Let a race of men now rise and take control. 


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