The Way We Was
Born: New Orleans, Louisiana 1945
Died: New Orleans, Louisiana 2007
carved and painted wood, metal locks and hinges 97 x 38 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. (246.4 x 97.8 x 6.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment
Smithsonian American Art Museum
1st Floor, West Wing
Singleton carved and painted this visual protest against racism in America on an old door. A black nanny cradles a white baby, a slave master holds a whip, slaves carry cotton, and a Klansman oversees a lynching. A dancing Uncle Tom in the upper right, "playing two ends against the people," is a man unafraid of his oppressor, but still the victim of injustice and hatred.
"This is the way we was, take us as we are, Uncle Tom is dead."
Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006
sculpture - relief
readymade - hardware
About Herbert Singleton
Born: New Orleans, Louisiana 1945 Died: New Orleans, Louisiana 2007
More works in the collection by
Blogs, Podcasts, and More
- Eye Level: Eye Wonder: Ten Years of Blogging at SAAM
- Eye Level: Luce Unplugged: Five Questions with the Band ...
- Eye Level: Luce Unplugged: 5 +1 Questions with Gully Waters
- A Conversation with Internet Inventors
- Eye Level: Take 5: Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement
- Eye Level: In This Case: Pioneers of the West