Mr. Prejudice
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More about Mr. Prejudice

svdgrift's picture


Like most of his paintings, this work by Horace Pippin is tiny, only 18 by 14 inches.

But don't let it’s size fool you, theres lots of stuff happening on there, a small but powerful plea for racial harmony!

The big V that dominates the picture stands for “victory”. It’s about winning the war, but most of all about African-Americans winning the struggle for equality in the U.S. (Though admittedly, there are still plenty of racial struggles.) The Black Statue of Liberty is proudly holding her flaming red torch on the left side. Also on the left side of the V, are 4 Black men. A doctor in white, a sailor in blue, an aviator in tan, and Horace also makes a cameo, wearing a brown World War I uniform. You can recognize him by his wounded right arm that hangs straight down at his side. On the right side of the V, you can find a KKK member in his Halloween costume and some white men, also in uniform. But who is that tall white guy wearing a red shirt? He is holding an noose and lurks at the statue of liberty. This could be a reference to the lynch mobs that killed many freed slaves after the Emancipation. Yet it’s more likely this man is supposed to represent John Brown, one of the Pippin’s family all time heroes. John was a militant White abolitionist who to tried to overthrow the institution of slavery.

John Brown was quite successful. He tried to start a liberation movement among enslaved African Americans in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Unfortunately, the group of 8 White men, 12 free Black men and a couple of Black slaves were defeated by at least 88 U.S. Marines. Well, that seems a bit excessive. But anyway John was one of the few that got out alive. He was tried for treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia, inciting a slave insurrection, oh yeah and why not, also for the murder of five men in Kansas. He was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged in public, hence the noose.

But who is that guy in the middle? As always, there’s an angry White man trying to hammer a wedge down into the V. 


Comments (1)


'As always, there’s an angry White man trying to hammer a wedge down into the V'. On the other hand, Kissinger supposedly once said 'Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There’s too much fraternizing with the enemy'