1001 Black Men–#479

This drawing was inspired by an African American man I saw getting off the 57 bus on MacArthur Blvd. I was at the stoplight at the corner of MacArthur and 35th when I noticed a man with a 1980s flattop who had a fairly large Bible in his hand. Thinking about him later that evening, I decided to draw him as an African American minister, but incorporating a late 19th-century photograph of a Black church congregation and some old sheet music for the spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” These elements link him to the long tradition of African American Protestant Christianity. If you’re an African American literature or history buff, you might find it interesting to know that the sheet music depicted as the background is taken from The Book of American Negro Spirituals, edited and arranged by African American brothers, composers, and educators James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamund Johnson. The collection was first published in 1925.

Ajuan Mance

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *