More about Sharecropper


Sharecropper is a print of a woman who, despite being forced to be a sharecropper, which was not not slavery, remains powerful and resilient.

This was quite the feat, given the horrific circumstances for African Americans in the post-Civil War South

This print encapsulates all of the fiercest feelings (I dare you not to cry) of the Maya Angelou reading of her poem, Still I Rise. Angelou, the poet and civil rights activist, writes, “You may write me down in history\ With your bitter, twisted lies,\ You may trod me in the very dirt\ But still, like dust, I’ll rise.” And by the leathery, stoic look of this woman, she’s not letting racism, sexism, or any abuse get her down. The print is rightfully positioned so that we are looking up at this woman, who is not giving two sh*ts about how unfairly she’s being treated.

Sharecropper was made in 1952 in Mexico, when Catlett was working with the Taller de Gráfica Popular, a liberal art-making collective in Mexico City. This group helped Catlett let her freak flag fly in terms of the kinds of race-related statements she wanted to make in her work - something pretty much no one else at the time was doing. And it paid off because she won the 2nd Atlanta University Purchase Award (2nd prize) for this work. It was reprinted many times, sometimes with a little color and sometimes not, but every time it makes you believe in the stoicism of the human spirit. This woman definitely has a Jesus-y thing going on with the halo-like hat and the suffering-for-your-sins vibe.