While working on the additions to my Nation magazine cover for a poster I started asking questions...
Why Bayard Rustin but not Paul Lawrence Dunbar? Why Malcom X and not Ralph Ellison? Why not Oprah Winfrey AND Fred Korematsu? Why not Elizabeth Catlett AND Langston Hughes? ...Why not Barack Obama's mother, Ann Dunham? Finished artwork and more below the fold....
At some point I realized the futility of it all and so I blew past the artificial "100" barrier and poll question (Ali edged Pete Seeger, but I needed to get Catlett and Ellison in there, too.) and added over 40 figures from the original... bringing the final count to over 111 figures.
I've finally completed the 18" x 24" poster version of the Obama "For The Ages" artwork that originally ran on the cover of The Nation magazine. Here it is...
Thanks so much for all of your suggestions. The comments many of you left made me revisit those who were left out of the original artwork... and also made me aware of many more (Dunbar!... Frances Ellen Watkins Harper!).
I've done my best to correct some glaring omissions.... although there will obviously be many more...
I want to reiterate that this only a small representative sample of the literally thousands who deserve to be on the podium witnessing history.
There's nothing wrong with more debates about who should and shouldn't be there. There is no mathematical scale... just opinions and
Well-known figures (like Ali) stand next to equally important but lesser-known ones (like Septima Clark).
...and that's the beauty of this exercise.
I hope this artwork will foster greater curiosity about how we got to a place in our history where an African-American could raise his hand and be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. That amazing moment was made possible by so many who did so much. Some spent their entire lives toiling in anonymity for a more just world.... others were the focus of an indelible moment... all played some part in the struggle for civil rights and most played a part in leading to Barack Obama... and it continues today with the situation in Tibet and Iran... Somewhere in North Korea, someone is in prison for standing up to that brutal regime.
Someone anonymous who took a courageous stand. We celebrate those that came before and keep working for those that come after.
I also want to express my gratitude for your patience.... and I hope the artwork is worth the wait.
Details on ordering copies can be found on my website:
...feel free to help spread the word... I really appreciate it.
...and yeah... I guess I probably did break my own little world record for tagging... ha ha...