Monday, October 25, 2010


LANGSTON HUGHES'S SECOND BOOK for the Franklin Watts First Book series was The First Book of Rhythms (1954). Drawing heavily from a course Hughes taught at the Laboratory School in Chicago in 1949, The First Book of Rhythms traces rhythm in all of its forms, from a person's heartbeat to music to oceans and planets to trees and trains and sports. For Hughes, rhythm is all encompassing. Just a few of the chapters titles shows that: "The Rhythms of Nature," "Rhythms of Music," "Rhythms and Words," "Athletics," "Machines," "Rhythms in Daily Life," "Furniture," and in case you somehow missed his point, the final chapter, "This Wonderful World."

The book starts off as an interactive lesson. The child reader is asked to take up a pen or pencil and to try some exercises in written rhythms. "Rhythm comes from movement," Hughes teaches. And each person's movement is distinct, creating its individual rhythm.

There are scientific facts about how sound travels through air or the benefit of streamlined trains and cars, but much of the book reads like a prose poem, a celebration of life in the tradition of Walt Whitman who Hughes quotes in his chapter "Rhythms and Words." A sample of Hughes's prose:
"In growing things there is an endless variety of rhythm from the shaggy, pyramiding pine to the tall bare curve of a towering palm, from the trailing weeping willow to the organ cactus of the desert, from the straight loveliness of bamboo trees in the tropics to the wind-shaped cypress of the California coast, clinging to a rocky cliff near the sea where the waves shower their salty spray."
There are the adjectives, the alliteration, and of course the rhythm that would be found in any of Hughes's poems.

If anything, at times Hughes is too lyrical, too abstract, caught up in his song of the world, lists and lists that might benefit from more discussion.
"Knitting creates its own rhythmical patterns by the very way the needles work in wool. So does chain stitching, cross-stitching, or featherstitching in sewing...When mothers curl little girls' hair they simply put the hair into the rhythm of spirals. But curls do not look well on all girls. Each person should arrange her hair to suit the shape of her face..."
He seems to have lost his point.

But to Hughes, this was a serious subject. From a lecture the poet gave on teaching poetry: "The rhythms of poetry give continuity and pattern to words, to thoughts, strengthening them, adding the qualities of permanence, and relating the written word to the vast rhythm of life."

He ends the book: "Rhythm is something we share in common, you and I, with all the plants and animals and people in the world, and with the stars and moon and sun, and all the whole vast wonderful universe beyound this wonderful earth which is our home."

ROBIN KING, the illustrator of the first edition of The First Book of Rhythms, had already had at least two careers before illustrating Hughes's book and had at least two more careers afterwords. The son of an artist (and later television personality), King was rigorously schooled in the arts by his father. When he left high school in the Depression to earn some money, he worked for a newspaper, where he worked his way up to the art department, doing photo touch ups. When World War II broke out and King was turned away by the armed services for health reasons, he drew comic books for both Marvel and DC, which is what led him to children's books. During a radio interview in support of one of his children's books, the program director was taken with King's resonant voice, and King fell into a career as a radio announcer and later the voice over artist in numerous national ad campaigns, such as this one for Mighty Dog dog food.

King died this past summer. His obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle (from which this paragraph is cribbed) can be read here.

In 1995, Oxford University Press reissued Hughes's book as The Book of Rhythms with an introduction by Wynton Marsalis, illustrations by Matt Wawiorka (whose farm and blackbird pie appear above), and an afterward by Robert G. O'Meally. All of my background material comes from O'Meally's afterward.

To read the complete The First Book of Rhythms along with all of King's artwork, see my Flickr set here.

See also: The First Book of Negroes

Coming soon: Langston Hughes's The First Book of Jazz

All images are copyrighted © and owned by their respective holders.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


THE FIRST BOOK OF NEGROES BY LANGSTON HUGHES and Slappy Hooper by Arna Bontemps and Jack Conroy are just two of over two hundred books for children that Ursula Koering (1921-1976) illustrated. Koering grew up in Vineland, New Jersey. She began drawing at an early age and her mother enrolled her in weekend classes at the Philadelphia College of Art starting at age eight. Upon graduating from high school, Koering began as a full-time student at the Philadelphia College of Art where she majored in sculpture.

After finishing her studies, Koering looked for work as a freelance illustrator, as there were no paying jobs for a female sculptor. She soon found her way into children's magazines and children's books. In an interview given in the year of her death, Koering said,
"The part of my life that I've spent creating art for children's magazines has always been personally rewarding to me. Magazines are great fun for children, and at the same time they very gently instill a sense of values--as well as literary and artistic appreciation--in children. My own early exposure to this kind of learning has made me very conscious of its importance."
Koering worked directly with children as an art teacher for nine years at an all girls school in New Jersey. She left that post late in life to take a job as a medallic sculptor at The Franklin Mint, where she designed several coins, finally earning money as a sculptor.

KOERING'S ILLUSTRATION FOR CHILDREN covers all subjects and genres for many different publishers. In addition to The First Book of Negroes, Koering also illustrated The First Book of Eskimos (1952) and The First Book of Indians (1950) for the Franklin Watts First Book series, both by Franklin Folsom writing as Benjamin Brewster.

These books are also of interest, of course, for the slant put on Native American history in books meant for 1950s Americans. They are surprisingly frank about the injustices Native Americans have suffered, while trying to put as happy a spin on it as possible.
"Life has not been easy for the Indians, but many fought bravely in our army in the last war. Others who have left their reservations have shown that they can be good at special jobs [that most whites can not do]...But Indians don't believe they have to imitate everything about the white men in order to be good Americans. They know that they have taught the white men many things...They want to remember and honor the good things, while they are learning new ways of living and thinking and working in this country which was theirs long before white men and Indians had to learn how to live together."

I've posted the more interesting pages from The First Book of Indians, which include lots more of Ursula Koering's illustrations, as a Flickr set here.

KOERING ALSO ILLUSTRATED titles by Franklin Folsom's wife Mary Elting, another prolific writer of children's nonfiction. Their first collaboration, Trucks At Work (1946), was the first in what became a long series for Elting at several publishers. Other titles included Trains At Work (1947), Machines At Work (1953), and eventually Spacecraft At Work (1966), also illustrated by Ursula Koering.

Trucks At Work has what might be one of the greatest opening paragraph in a vintage children's informational book:
Here are some things to know about trucks. Their drivers call them rigs or cornpoppers or My Baby. When a truck has lots of engine trouble and is hard to drive, they say it is a dog.
The opening of the second chapter goes a long way towards matching the first:
"Here are some things to know about truck drivers. They wear holes in the soles of their left shoes faster than in the right. That is because they have to press down so often on the clutch pedal to shift gears. A heavy truck can roll along in high gear on flat roads, but when it starts to climb even a small hill, the driver must shift. When he is crawling along in low gear, he says he is down in the kitchen. When he is travelling fast, he says he is highballing. Truck drivers borrowed this word from the men who work on railroads."

The book is full of such sociological observations, along with quite a lot of simple reporting, which makes it fun to read as camp. The illustrations, however, are consistently breathtaking.

To read all of Trucks At Work or just to see all of Koering's art, visit my Flickr set here. Also, compare the above fire to Koering's rendition of a similar scene in Slappy Hooper.

KOERING DID ALSO ILLUSTRATE fiction. Here are black and white illustrations to the young adult novel The Long Year (1969), Ester Wier's follow-up to her Newberry Honor book The Loner (1963). These show her ability to draw distinct and dramatic characters, a talent that would serve her many years later at The Franklin Mint.

For all of the art in The Long Year visit my Flickr set here.

And a few of her Franklin Mint coins:

All of the background material, artist photo, and The Franklin Mint coins comes from an article in the April 1976 issue of The Franklin Mint Almanac.

Coming soon: Langston Hughes's The First Book of Rhythms

All images are copyrighted © and owned by their respective holders.

Friday, October 15, 2010


IN 1932, ARNA BONTEMPS AND LANGSTON HUGHES collaborated on the children's novel Popo and Fifina. Several years after that book, Bontemps began to collaborate with the novelist Jack Conroy on several text-heavy picture books. Their 1946 collaboration, Slappy Hooper: The Wonderful Sign Painter, was illustrated by Ursula Koering. Koering went on to illustrate the children's book The First Book of Negroes (1952) written by Langston Hughes. It would seem that Hughes perhaps chose to work with the illustrator that had so beautifully illustrated his friend's book six years prior. But Koering had already illustrated several books for the Franklin Watts First Book series before the Hughes book was published and was likely assigned by the publisher. This happy coincidence has more of the flavor of a "chance meeting" à la Rachel Cohen (who discusses Langston Hughes at great length in her brilliant book) than a deliberate choice. Koering just happened to work with both authors of Popo and Fifina, and she brought to each very different illustrative styles.

Bontemps, Conroy: Slappy Hooper (1946)

 Hughes: The First Book of Negroes (1952)

THE WRITERS OF SLAPPY HOOPER met in the 1930s at the Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration. Jack Conroy (1898-1990) was the first worker-writer (a practitioner of socialist realism) in the United States. He grew up in a coal mining camp in Missouri during the early years of unionization, and went to work in the railroad shops nearby at age thirteen. His initial success as a writer came when H. L. Mencken published his work in the American Mercury. Conroy later returned the favor to many young writers as the founder and editor-in-chief of the socialist literary magazine The Anvil where he published Langston Hughes (another chance meeting!), Richard Wright, Nelson Algren, and Erskine Caldwell.

With Arna Bontemps, the African-American novelist and poet who had played a major role in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, Conroy conducted hundreds of interviews that resulted in They Seek a City (1945), a comprehensive study on African-American migration and settlement. It was during this work that they turned their attention to a series of three children's picture books based on folktales that Conroy had collected (or composed) for another WPA project. The second of those picture books was Slappy Hooper: The Wonderful Sign Painter.

MIKE FLINT, a wholesome all-American kid, becomes aware of Slappy Hooper, "the world's biggest, bestest and fastest sign painter" when Hooper paints a billboard of a loaf of bread for his town's bakery. Mike is surprisingly passionate about quality sign painting, something that sets him apart from most.
"'Folks don't appreciate a man like Slappy nowadays. Times have changed. They got so blamed many new inventions like smoke-writing from airplanes and painting signs from a stencil that people don't pay no mind to sign painters that do their work right from the muscle.'"
When Mike next goes to look at Slappy's loaf of bread, he's dismayed to find that it's gone--the whole billboard gone. It turns out that the sign was so realistic that birds started killing themselves against it trying to eat the bread. Slappy has quit painting he's so upset about it.

Mike sets out to find him. As he races about town, he thinks he spots Slappy high in a bosun's chair, painting letters on a smokestack. It turns out it's another painter, painting from stencils with an assistant on the ground. The assistant is amazed that Mike could ever mistake his boss for Slappy.
"'I see you don't know much about Slappy. Anything Slappy wants on the ground he lassos with his special long and tough rawhide lariat and pulls it up to where he's working. And he can let hisself up and down in his bosun's chair as fast as a monkey can skin up a cocoanut tree.'"
The assistant suggests Mike try looking for Slappy on a bench in the town's square. While heading over to the square, Mike runs into another person searching for Slappy. This man comes from Wyoming and is out to apologize to Slappy for tar and feathering him out of town. The sign that got Slappy that treatment was an election poster that was so realistic that an opponent in the election shot at the billboard scaring away the town's only milk cow, and it's hard to come by a good milk cow.

At last Mike finds the dejected Slappy in the town square. When he expresses his admiration for the sign painter, Slappy opens up a bit about his career. He used to be the best sky painter out there, painting big advertisements on the clouds.

Now he figures he'll have to give up sign painting, maybe get by painting signs for small shops, just as long as he "can stay off public works" by which "he meant a big factory or some place where he would have to punch a time clock."

Mike says his own father is a fan of Slappy's and might employ him at his shop the Jim Dandy Hot Blast Stove and Range Co. Mike's father does just that and Slappy paints a billboard of a piping hot stove. The trouble starts almost immediately when flocks of bums come by to warm themselves at the realistic painting. To drive off the bums, the shop's manager asks Slappy to paint the stove hotter so that it will be too hot to sit near. Slappy follows those instructions, but soon people are complaining that the paint on the cars parked by the sign is starting to blister.

Next thing they know, a nearby house catches on fire. The fire department arrives and puts out the flames, but that's the end of Slappy in Mike's hometown. Before he ventures off into the sunset, he hands Mike a paint brush that Mike promises to keep in his "'collection--a kind of museum of important things.'"

TO READ ALL OF SLAPPY HOOPER and enjoy the rest of Koering's phenomenal illustrations, see my Flickr set here.

Background material on Jack Conroy came from Douglas Wixson's introduction to a 2000 edition of Conroy's second novel A World to Win (1935).

Coming soon: Ursula Koering

All images are copyrighted © and owned by their respective holders.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


WHEN LANGSTON HUGHES CAME TO PROMINENCE as the premier African-American poet in the late 1920s and early 1930s, many of his poems expressed anger over the inequalities that African-Americans faced in society. Much of that anger sought resolution in socialist or communist terms, as was common in the African-American community of that time due to the Communists' emphasis on the equality of all people regardless of race. While Hughes never joined the Communist Party, it was easy to see where his sympathies lay. Consequently, when the anti-communist furor arose in the early 1950s, Hughes found himself a victim of discrimination as publishers removed his books from their lists (including his children's novel Popo and Fifina, which had remained in print for almost twenty years), speaking engagements disappeared, and offers of further work dwindled. His reputation as a left sympathizer culminated in an appearance before Senator Joseph McCarthy's Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, where Hughes was exonerated by distancing himself from his early writings and agreeing to cooperate with the Subcommittee in all ways.

During that period, with work drying up, Hughes found himself in serious financial trouble. He turned to writing nonfiction children's books as a way to make some money quickly, starting with The First Book of Negroes for Franklin Watts's First Book series. ("When boys and girls FIRST start asking why?...what?...and how? FIRST BOOKS are the first books to read on any subject.") Other books in the series included The First Book of Bees, The First Book of Space Travel, and The First Book of Eskimos, but The First Book of Negroes was the the first title about a group of people that focused on a race rather than a nationality or geographic region. While the book was written and published before Hughes's appearance before McCarthy, Franklin Watts had already required Hughes to write a statement indicating that he was not a communist, which Watts used in his press materials. The book deliberately makes no mention of W. E. B. Du Bois or Paul Robeson, prominent African-Americans who were strongly associated with communism. And while Hughes openly discusses the injustice of Jim Crowe law in the South, he goes out of his way to say that no problem, including Jim Crowe, could not be resolved by open discourse in a democratic society. Hughes even cited The First Book of Negroes in his testimony before McCarthy as evidence of his belief in America and Democracy. "By taking an interest in our government, and by treating our neighbors as we would like to be treated, each one of us can help make our country the most wonderful country in the world."

THE FIRST BOOK OF NEGROES uses as a frame narrative the story of "Terry Lane whose skin is brown as a walnut and whose hair is black and beautifully crinkly." Terry lives in Harlem, which means that he is able to go about freely, and that he goes to school with white and Puerto Rican children. "If Terry lived in the South he could not go to school with white children, nor could they go to school with him." Hughes goes on to describe Jim Crowe, which "seemed very silly to Terry."

Terry's grandmother came from the South (although she went to Fisk University "so she does not say 'ain't'"), and she tells folktales in the African-American oral tradition and knows many funny rhymes. Once a year Terry goes to visit his relatives in the South where they have to ride in the last train car and the benches and water fountains are marked WHITE and COLORED. Terry's grandmother explains that these inequalities are a holdover from slavery, but she assures him that not all white people wished the Negroes ill. Even in slavery time there were whites who "wanted Negroes to live happily and have the same rights as other Americans."

When Terry's cousin Charlene comes to visit him in New York, they go sightseeing. Charlene has never seen a revolving door, an escalator, or eaten in the same restaurant with white people (all things that seem to amaze her in equal proportions). Of course she knows how to milk a cow, ride a horse, and clip sheep, which Terry doesn't. But "to cap the climax of the wonders of the day, Mrs. Lane took her son and his cousin to luncheon at a most amazing restaurant called the Automat where people put nickels and dimes into slots in the wall, and little glass cases fly open, and there is the food inside...anything you wish!"

The chapters about Terry comprise about a third of the book. The rest of the chapters, whose names should give a clear sense of what they are each about are:
  • A Brave Explorer (Estevanico, who discovered what are "now Arizona and New Mexico" as the advance guard on a Spanish expedition in 1539)
  • Songs of Freedom: The Spirituals
  • Negroes in America Long Ago
  • Terry's Ancestors May Have Come from Many Places
  • The King's of History
  • Negroes Around the World
  • A Negro Saint (Martin de Porres of Peru)
  • American Negroes
  • Famous American Negroes (Frederick Douglas, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Thurgood Marshall)
  • The Story of Harriet Tubman
  • Well Known American Negro Women (Dr. Ruth Temple, Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker; Baker only appeared in the first printing because a New York reviewer threatened to pan the book on the belief that Baker was a communist.)
  • Golden Trumpets (on Louis Armstrong and jazz)
  • Old Satch (Satchel Paige)
  • Famous Negro Athletes (Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens, Joe Louis)
  • Negro History Week
  • John Henry, Mighty Railroad Builder
  • More Famous American Negroes (Gwendolyn Brooks, Phillis Wheatley, Lena Horne)
The book ends with Terry's father taking him and his white friend David to skate at Rockefeller Plaza. On the way home, Terry declares, "'This is the prettiest city in the most wonderful country in the world,'" to which his father replies, "'I agree, it is good to live in America, Terry. Our country has many problems to solve, but...Here people are free to vote and work out their problems.'" The First Book of Negroes was published in 1952, two years before Brown vs. Board of Education, three years before the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and twelve years before the Civil Rights Act.

THE SPECTACULAR ILLUSTRATIONS throughout The First Book of Negroes are by Ursula Koering, who illustrated many books in the First Books series, and whose work I will discuss at greater length in a future post. To see all of Koering's art for The First Book of Negroes see my Flickr set here.

Background material for this post came primarily from Volume Two of Arnold Rampersad's definitive biography The Life Of Langston Hughes: 1941-1967 I Dream A World. I also consulted Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children's Literature edited by Julia L. Mickenberg and Philip Nell in which the chapter from The First Book of Negroes, "A Little Boy in a Big City," appears, and the afterward by Robert G. O'Meally to Oxford University Press's 1995 edition of The First Book of Rhythms.

Coming Soon: Arna Bontemps and Jack Conroy's Slappy Hooper: The Wonderful Sign Painter, illustrated by Ursula Koering

All images are copyrighted © and owned by their respective holders.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


THE ARTIST FOR LANGSTON HUGHES AND ARNA BONTEMP'S children's novel Popo and Fifina was the Jackie Robinson of commercial art and cartooning, E. Simms Campbell (1906-1971). Campbell had already had a successful career in advertising in Saint Louis, Missouri before moving to New York City, and he was only twenty-five when he did the illustrations for the Hughes/Bontemps book. By then, he'd broken into the New York magazine cover and cartoon markets, and was just two years away from his biggest break, as the cover artist and later art editor of the newly founded Esquire magazine, where his watercolors of beautiful women set the tone of the magazine from the beginning. Later, he brought those women to newspapers all over the country as the first African-American with a nationally syndicated comic, Cuties his daily one panel gag cartoon.

As such a prominent cartoonist, information on Campbell abounds on the internet. A good capsule biography is available on, and a wide selection of his work, including the Impressions of Haiti I posted yesterday, can be found on the American Art Archives. So, in hope of presenting something new here I offer direct quotes from a profile done by none other than Arna Bontemps in 1945. The art comes from a collection of Campbell's cartoons Cuties in Arms (1942), from The New Yorker (where he appeared regularly throughout the thirties), and from Southern Road, a book of poems by Sterling A. Brown published in 1932 and illustrated in the same manner as Popo and Fifina.

IT WAS AT HIS WESTCHESTER HOME IN NEW YORK, fourteen years after their collaboration on Popo and Fifina, that Arna Bontemps sat down with Campbell to do a profile of the black artist for the book We Have Tomorrow. The book profiles twelve African-Americans who, as Bontemps says in the introduction "are doing what was never done by Negro Americans before; they are working in fields which for a long time seemed closed to members of their race. They are doing what couldn't be done--until they did it. They are working as Americans, not as Negroes, and they are making a success of it." The title We Have Tomorrow comes, appropriately, from a Langston Hughes poem, Youth.

"My work is a lot like ditch-digging. The only difference is that when you're digging ditches, you're outside and enjoy the fresh air. I do my sweating right over there [in his home studio]--often at night, under those intense blue lights. Ten hours, twenty hours, sometimes thirty hours at a stretch...When it's time for bills to be paid, you don't play around. You get funny and you get funny quick."

"This month the going has been harder than usual. King Features, for whom I do the syndicated daily drawings called "Cuties," usually want me to keep six weeks ahead with my material, but that's the old plan now. With the war going on, they are asking for seventeen weeks in advance. That means I must work up enough ideas for the additional weeks, get them approved, do the drawings, and then keep even from then on. All that in addition to my regular work for the magazines and the advertising concerns."

"Don't let it get you dizzy. Just say I do about five hundred drawings of all kinds a year--not counting the ones that go into the wastebasket."

On his diverse book collection: "An artist must know something about everything.  Styles, furniture, culture, language, mass psychology, and all things of current interest."

On the question of high versus low art: "I prefer cartooning. You see, I like jokes, and it's hard to put a joke into an oil painting. Have you ever noticed how quiet people are in art galleries? Well, I don't think that's what pictures should do to you. They should make you want to laugh, talk, shout, anything but hang your head. I worked at the sort of thing you have in mind, back in the Chicago and St. Louis days, and exhibited such drawings as "The Wake" and "Levee Luncheon," both of which got their share of attention, but even then the thing about them that critics mentioned was their humor."

On finding his calling: "I seem to have had my eye on the magazines from the start. At Englewood [High School} it was The 'E.' At the university of Chicago, the Phoenix. The several other little magazine around Chicago. Nothing much came of these efforts, however, so after the Art Institute I went back to St. Louis to look for work. The next thing I knew I was wating table on a dining car. It was a let-down, of course, but it was the making of me in this field."

"Yes, seriously. Up to then my work had been shallow, but I learned from my fellow waiters how close man can be to his fellow men. After this discovery my character began to develop and I began to paint and draw people as they really looked. Oh, i could always draw, but I was a failute as an artist till I became a successful dining-car waiter."

"You meet all kinds in a diner, you know. Some are dainty, some finicky, some calm and patient, some nervous, some are just would-be slave drivers. Between meals I spent my time making caricatures of the passengers as well as of the other waiters and the steward. Before long I had quite a collection of these sketches, and when I got back in St. Louis I started showing them around to the various studios."

"Most of the places turned me down. You know how it is when you are looking for work. But J. P. Sauerwein, manager of the Triad Studios in the Arcade Building, liked the stuff and hired me. I became one of eight artists on the staff there."

On moving to New York City: "I had plenty of chances to regret it during those first months in the big city. I didn't catch on right away, by any means. I wore out a lot of shoe leather before I found a job. Even then it was nothing to get excited about. The salary was just one-eight of what I'd been getting in St. Louis. But it was a job and I had to hold it until i could do better. In the meantime Mr. Sauwerwein sent me a wire offering an increase over my former pay if I'd come back to the Triad Studios, but it was too late. I'd burned my bridges and I didn't want to be licked by a little place called New York City."

"My break came when I ran into Ed Graham. there aren't many fellows like Ed. He and I had worked on the Phoenix at the same time back at the University of Chicago. Well, Ed Graham had come on to New York ahead of me, and he had already broken into the humorous magazines and made a name for himself. He had his knocks, but he was over the hump. He knew the editors, and they knew him. I should him some of myd rawings and gags and right off the bat he said, 'I'll take you around. This is stuff is good.'"

"There you have it. C. D. Russell, creater of "Pete the Tramp," became my friend, too. Before long I was selling cartoons to a dozen magazines and newspapers. I sold ideas to other artists, and I sold gags alone, sometimes as many as fifty a week. I enrolled at the Art Student's League for further study with George Grosz, the exiled German satirist, perhaps the greatest drafstman in the field, and received a pat on the back from James Mongomery Flagg. In 1936 the Hearst newspapers conducted their $1000 competition for what was called the cartoon best depicting "the tax grabber." The contest was open to all American artists, so I decided to give it a try. I made nearly a thousand sketches before I got one that pleasd me. Finally, on friday the thirteenth, I finished one that seemed to express what I had in mind. It was just one of ten thousand entries, but it turned out to be the lucky one."

"The principle on which I work is to find out what the other fellow needs, then try to supply it. Something like that was in my mind when I drew that Thanksgiving turkey for Beltach's Butcher Shop [his first sale as an artist made at age eleven], and it is worth remembering. This field isn't hard from a race standpoint, but it is a very, very tough field for anybody to break into and stay in."

THE OTHER ELEVEN PEOPLE Arna Bontemps profiled in We Have Tomorrow are Mildred E. Blount, Horace R. Cayton, Beatrice Johnson Trammell, Dean Dixon, Sylvestre C. Watkins, Douglas Watson, Emmett M. May, Hazel Scott, Algernon P. Henry, James E. LuValle, Benjamin Davis, Jr.

I include one last cartoon from the New Yorker by way of comparison to the print I posted yesterday of Popo at the drum ceremony.

And because I can't bear not to include them, the last two prints from Southern Road.

Coming Soon: Langston Hughes's First Book of Negroes.

All images are copyrighted © and owned by their respective holders.