(Social Justice)

"Important Events and Dates in Negro History"

Jones, Lois Mailou (illus.)

Washington, D.C. Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, 1936. Lithographic poster. An impressive brush and ink illustration by Lois Mailou Jones heralds the piece, tracing the Black experience, from an African milieu with garb and masks (elements Jones would incorporate into many of her works throughout her career), to laborers, presumably enslaved, in fields, to the present-day incorporation of Black professionals into the rhythm of America, contributing to the arts, industry, and education. Beneath is a detailed chart of notable events in African-American history, including the births and/or deaths of various figures and anniversaries of emancipations, arranged from January 1st ("Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln, 1863") to December 28th ("The American Colonization Society organized, 1816") like an almanac or perpetual calendar to be re-used every year. The text at the foot of the chart indicates that the information therein was drawn from the book “The African Background Outlined, or Handbook for the Study of the Negro,” and both were issued by Charles Godwin Woodson, Director of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The whole is surrounded by a geometric border, also designed by Jones.

Lois Mailou Jones was an artist and educator born in Boston, MA in 1905. She studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Massachusetts Normal Art School (now Massachusetts College of Art), as well as numerous other design studios and art schools in the area and abroad, learning to work in a variety of different media. She taught art and design at Howard University from 1930 until her retirement in 1977, also earning a BA in art education from there in 1945.

In the 1930s, Jones summered in Harlem, where she was influenced by the ideas of the Harlem Renaissance. She provided illustrations and dust jacket designs for W.E.B. DuBois and Charles Godwin Woodson, who were publishing magazines and books for young people about Black history, out of which this poster comes. In 1937, Jones took a sabbatical from Howard to study at the Académie Julian. There she met fellow artists, authors, and thinkers, taking inspiration from the Négritude movement, which itself had come out of the Harlem Renaissance. The movement was anti-colonialist and anti-racist, asserting the value and dignity of African traditions and peoples and encouraging the use of African subject matter in artistic output. Jones's own work reflected these themes, focusing on Black life and culture, whether it be masks and textiles from different regions in Africa, Haitian market scenes, portraits of prominent African-American figures in the Civil Rights Movement, or victims of lynching. She earned an Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Visual Arts in 1980, as well as five honorary doctorates. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum, among many more.

The first issue to accompany the book printed at a slightly larger size; this, a subsequent separate issue, measures 24 3/4 by 17 3/4 in. Fine. Archivally matted and framed. Item #33362

Price: $3,500.00