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Wanted Poster Series #10

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Wanted Poster Series #10

20th century
101.6 x 152.4 x 5.1 cm (40 x 60 x 2 in.)

Charles White (Chicago, Illinois, 1918 - 1979, Los Angeles, California) Primary

Object Type: drawing
Artist Nationality: North America, American
Medium and Support: Oil wash brushed and stenciled with masking out over traces of graphite pencil
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Susan G. and Edmund W. Gordon to the units of Black Studies and the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin
Accession Number: 2014.100

"Wanted Poster #10" features a small black child crouched in a position similar to that of enslaved Africans in the holds of slave ships and hovering above a swaddled newborn. The figures are set against a crinkled textured background of stars and stripes with stenciled text that reads, “KNOW YE STATES HAS PURCHASED NEGROES FOR THE SUM DOLLARS. TERMS OF SALE INSURED.” The use of children reflects White’s indignation over the cycle of oppression and degradation African Americans have historically endured in the United States, particularly the commodification of black children during the era of slavery.

White’s inspiration for this work was sparked in part by his residency in the South as he prepared for a mural project to be installed at Hampton University in Virginia. About his trip, White said, “I was in the real home of my people, where the vast majority of them lived and worked from the days when they were brutally brought in slave ships.”

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