Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College


From July 20 through October 13, 2013 Hale Woodruff’s mural commission for Talladega College will be at NYU’s 80 Washington Square East gallery. Restored after a 2011 request of President Billy C. Hawkins and the Talladega College Board of Trustees, the High Museum in Atlanta’s art conservators and handlers began the conservation process in 2011 to preserve the murals for the future . The restoration process took 12 months and has begun a three-year tour under the title Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College. Do not miss this last week of the show at NYU! It is a must-see.

Hale Woodruff was commissioned in 1938 by Talladega College President Buell Gallagher to paint six murals that would be in display in the new Savery Library which was under construction at the time. The murals were to commemorate the transition from slavery to freedom. In 1939 the first three murals were installed about the 1839 slave uprising on the ship Amistad, which was concurrently the hundredth anniversary of the historical event with scenes of the mutiny, the trial, and the return of the captives to Africa. National leaders, mostly cultural leaders in the African-American community loved the murals for the representation of pride and hope.

Hale Woodruff is an important artist in the history of art with a multitude of accomplishments as an artist and professor. In 1931 Woodruff joined the faculty of Atlanta University (later Clark Atlanta University) as its first art instructor and the historic collection of African-American art at Clark Atlanta University is contributed to Woodruff’s effort. Woodruff was an apprentice to Diego Rivera in the late 1930s and studied in France during the Cubist movement. Romare Bearden and Woodruff established the artists’ collective Spiral in 1963 about the connections between African-American art and the ongoing struggle for civil rights which helped lay the groundwork for the Black Arts Movement.

Watch this video from the High Museum in Atlanta to learn more about the murals:

Click here for more information on the final week of the exhibition at the 80 Washington Square East Gallery:


Click here for more information on where the murals will be traveling to next:


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