Making History: Meta Warrick Fuller's Ethiopia Renée Ater .

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Making History: Meta Warrick Fuller's "Ethiopia"Renée AterAmerican Art, Vol. 17, No. 3. (Autumn, 2003), pp. 12-31.Stable URL:http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici CO%3B2-LAmerican Art is currently published by Smithsonian American Art Museum.Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/about/terms.html. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtainedprior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content inthe JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/journals/smith.html.Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is an independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to and preserving a digital archive of scholarly journals. Formore information regarding JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.http://www.jstor.orgTue May 29 14:36:10 2007

Making HistoryMeta Warrick Fuller's EthiopiaRente AterMeta Warrick Fuller, Ethiopia(detail), rnid-192Os. painted plast Artifactster, 67 in. high. r andDivision, Schomburg Center forResearch in Black Culture, NewYork Public Library, Astor, Lenoxand Tilden oundationsMeta Warrick Fuller (1877-1968) created Ethiopia for the America's MakingExposition, a 1921 fair that focused onthe contributions of immigrants toAmerican society. Sponsored by theNew York City and New York StateDepartments of Education, the festivaland accompanying pageants were held atthe Seventy-first Regiment Armory atThirty-fourth Street and Park Avenuefrom October 29 to November 12. Atthe suggestion of writer W. E. B. DuBois, James Weldon Johnson, fieldsecretary of the National Associationfor the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP) and chairman of the exposition's "Colored Section," requested thatFuller sculpt the allegorical figure forthis event. "They had an idea all cut anddried that they would have Ethiopia,"Fuller recalled in discussing the commission. She agreed to make "a twelve-inchsketch or model which could be enlargedto whatever size they wanted."'The artist ultimately conceived astriking image of a pseudo-Egyptianblack woman unwrapping her swathedlower body, a mummified form slowlyreturning to life. Her right hand rests inthe center of her chest where her crossedarms were positioned in death, andbetween thumb and forefinger she holdsthe end of her linen shroud. Her left13American Arthand breaks away at an angle from herbound legs. The figure's head, drapedin a nemes worn by Egyptian kings, isturned to her left and her eyes gaze overher left shoulder. Fuller's original smallscale model, now lost and known onlythrough surviving photographs, was thefirst of several versions she created duringher lifetime of the sculpture, variouslycalled Ethiopia, Awakening Ethiopia,Ethiopia Awakening, or The Awakening ofEthiopia. A later, sixty-seven-inch plasterfigure, similar in design, is pictured here(frontispiece).2Art historians such as David Driskell,Judith Wilson, and Richard Powell haverightly discussed this sculpture in termsof its Pan-African ideals and the way inwhich the work symbolized a new radicalized black identity at the beginning ofthe Harlem Renaissance, a flowering ofliterature, music, and visual art in theearly twentieth century. A more in-depthand nuanced discussion of the historicalcontext for this important work can further enrich our understanding, however.3Fuller's sculpture must be looked atwithin the framework of the America'sMaking Exposition and contemporaryperceptions of Egypt and Ethiopia, whichsupplied source material and context forher conceptualization. Fuller turned toEgypt for archaeological references and

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an authentic racial identity by looking tothe grand achievements of Egyptian history while also supporting the romanticideal of Christian Ethiopia as a symbolof black liberation. At the same time,it was assimilationist in the way it wasexhibited at a "melting pot" event, representing the emancipation of a peopleattempting to prove their value to asociety that had long excluded blacksfrom full involvement as United Statescitizens.The Journey to Ethiopia!!IIr.I.;:--.1Photograph of Meta WarrickFuller, ca. 1911. Meta WarrickFuller Photograph Collection,Schornburg Center for Researchin Black Culture, New YorkPublic Library, Astor, Lenox andTilden Foundationshistorical validation of African Americans'place in history. The artist used Ethiopiain the title of her work to represent asource of racial pride as well as to reference the literary-religious tradition ofEthiopianism that was based on the biblical prophecy of Psalm 68:31: "Princesshall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shallsoon stretch out her hands unto God."Ethiopia ultimately served two seemingly contradictory purposes. It filled aneed for African Americans to formulateBorn in Philadelphia in 1877 to a middle-class family, Meta Warrick (fig. 1)received her early artistic training at thePennsylvania Museum and School ofIndustrial Arts beginning in 1897. Shefollowed a course of study at the schoolthat focused on applied arts, includingdecorative painting and design, and graduated in 1899. With the encouragementof a teacher, she decided to further herart instruction overseas and studied inParis until 1902. Much influenced by theFrench sculptor Auguste Rodin, whosestudio she visited at Meudon, the youngAmerican modeled The Wretched (fig. 2)after the tympanum of his Gates of Hell(1880-1917). She exhibited the smallfigural group to much acclaim at theParisian art gallery L'Art Nouveau Bingand at the 1903 Salon of the SocitttNationale des Beaux-Arts. After herreturn to the United States, she initiallysettled in Philadelphia and then in theBoston area following her marriage in1909 to psychiatrist Solomon CarterFuller Jr. African American organizers,especially Du Bois, provided Fuller withthree major commissions related to fairsand expositions: in 1907 she createdfourteen tableaux for the JarnestownTercentennial Exposition in Virginia; in1913 she made a seven-foot sculpturetitled Emancipation (fig. 3) for thesemi-centennial celebration of the

Emancipation Proclamation in Boston;and in 1920-21 she produced Ethiopia."By the early 1920s Fuller had becomeone of the preeminent black artists of hertime. As her principal advocate and aclose family friend, Du Bois soughtout Fuller for the America's MakingExposition commission. Du Bois was aprominent political philosopher and cultural critic, and editor of the Crisis, themagazine of the NAACP Most likely,the pageant he had produced for theNational Emancipation Exposition inOctober 1913 was one of Fuller's earlyinspirations for this project. She had seenhis "The People of Peoples and TheirGifts to Men," later renamed "The Starof Ethiopia" (fig. 4), at the TwelfthRegiment Armory in New York, whereit was part of the celebration ofthe fiftieth anniversary of theEmancipation Proclamation.5As one of the executivecommittee members of the"Colored Section" of theAmericals MakingExposition, Du Boisproposed an elaborate2Mera Warrick Fuller, TheWretc/ ed,ca. 1 90 1. Bronze, 17 x21 x 15 in. Maryhill Museum ofArt, Goldendale, Washingron15Arnerirnn ArtEthiopia, with a crystal globe in eachhand, that would occupy a central placein the black exhibits:Her darkface shinesforth from the masseddrapery of a white Sudanese bernousewhichflows down infolds to the groundand has perhaps a single splash of crimsoncolor. rhefacP has closed &es and on thecheek a slight trace of tears. The arms andhands are black and bare and in the righthand is a crystal globe marked Music andin the lef)a crystalglobe marked Labor."Ultimately, however, Fuller relied on herown artistic imagination to complete thesculpture for the exposition. As preparations advanced for the fair, the Crisisreported that she was "designing a statuewhich will be in the centerof the Negro exhibit, showing a female figure emergingfrom the wrappings ofa mummy with handsupraised, symbolizingthe self-emancipation ofthat race from ignoranceinto educated, self-reliantcitizens

3Meta Warrick Fuller,Emancipation, 1913; bronze cast,1999. 84 in. high. NationalCenter of Afro-American Artistsand the Museum of AfroAmerican History, Boston

A scene from "The Star ofEthiopia" pageant. Photographreproduced in the Crisis 7, no. 1(December 1913), p. 79and makers of America." We do notknow whether the Crisis report about theposition of the figure's arms was inaccurate or whether Fuller revised them as sheworked. But she did elaborate on herintentions in a letter to an acquaintanceshortly before the 1921 fair opened, saying:Here was a group (Negro) who had oncemade history and now afier a long sleep wasawaking, gradually unwinding the bandageof its mummiedpast and looking out on lifeagain, expectant but unafiaid and with atleast a graceJilgesture. Whyyou may askthe Egyptian mot The answer, the mostbrilliant period, perhaps of Egyptian historywas the period of the Negro kings.7Looking to Egypt for VindicationIn her rendering and titling of the sculpture, the artist conflated an interest inhistorical EgyPt with a mythical representation of Ethiopia. Although clearly anallegorical image, Fuller's Ethiopia (fig. 5and frontispiece) should be understoodin the context of the archaeologicalrecovery of Egyptian funerary sculpture17 American Artduring the early decades of the 1900s.While a student in Paris, Fuller visitedthe Louvre on many occasions and mostlikely saw its collection of Egyptian artifacts, which had been on view since1826. As a resident of Framingham,Massachusetts, a small town outside ofBoston, she also had at her disposal oneof the most significant collections ofEgyptian art in the United States atBoston's Museum of Fine Arts. Amongthe important objects in the collectionat the time was the statue of KingMenkaure and his queen (fig. 6). Theartist stated in her 1921 letter that shewas alluding to a period in Egyptian history when "the Negro kingsn ruled, a reference assuredly to the reign of Kushitekings in Egypt from 712 to 664 BCE.An avid reader of the Crisis, Fullerlearned of Egyptian art, in part, fromthe magazine's exclusive coverage ofarchaeological excavations in the Sudanand Ethiopia, which stressed the reignof the Kushite kings and the ancient cityof Meroe.8Ethiopia seemingly mimics the selfcontained aesthetic of Egyptian funerarystatuary. Similar in form to mummies

Meta Warrick Fuller, Ethiopia,mid-1920s. Painted plaster, 67 in.high. Schomburg Center forResearch in Black Culture, NewYork Public LibraryKing Menkaure (Mycerinw) andQueen, Egyptian, Old Kingdom,Dynasty 4, reign of Menkaure,ca. 2590-2472 BCE. Greywackesandstone, 56 x 22 ?hx 21 ?4 in.Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,Harvard University-Museumof Fine Arts ExpeditionDaniel Chester French, AJizca,from The Four Continents,1903-1907. Plaster model,dimensions unknown, for marblegroup at U.S. Custom House,New York. Peter A. Juley & SonCollection, Smithsonian AmericanArt Museum, Washington, D.C.Anne Whitnep Ethiopia (Africa),1863-64, destroyed. Plaster,dimensions unknown. FromFreeman Murray, Emancipationand the Freed in American Sculpture(Washington, D.C., 1916)and figurines termed shawabtis or shabtis,her lower body is completely encased,broken only by the left hand juttingaway from the legs. The crisscross patterncovering the figure's shrouded legs evokesEgyptian embalming techniques andentombment practices in which thebody is tightly wrapped in linen.However, the mummified lower bodycontrasts significantly with the upperbody, which moves more freely, the headturned to the left and the right hand inthe center of her chest. Here Fuller hasdeparted from the squared frontality ofEgyptian sculpture and shown us, withher shift in style to Beaux-Arts naturalism, the metamorphosis from dormancyto awakening.Fuller treated Ethiopia? facial featureswith a distinctive reference to blackphysiognomy. The artist created a visagewith full lips, a wide nose with flarednostrils, and sharply angled cheekbones.The most unusual element of Fuller's figure is that she wears the Egyptian kingship headdress called a nemes. WithinEgyptian tradition, artisans rarely sculptedwomen with a nemes, except in the caseof Queen Hatshepsut who was often represented as a male in the regalia of thepharaoh. It is tempting to think that Fullermight have been likening her figure

to that of the ancient queen, but weshould consider Fuller's use of the nemeson a woman together with the encasedlower body as a synthesis of elements ofEgyptian and western art that best suitedher early-twentieth-century sensibilities.She also seems to have ignored Egyptian19 American Artrenderings of Cleopatra and the westerntradition of depicting Cleopatra, preferring to create an allegorical female formthat articulates an imagined concept ofEgypt rather than a literal archaeologicalreference to Egyptian statuary or to aspecific person.9Fuller's use of Egyptian art andthemes was not unusual for an Americanartist. Painter Elihu Vedder, for example,had evoked mystical Egypt in two versions of The Questioner of the Sphinx(1863); both Edmonia Lewis andWilliam Wetmore Story carved marbleCleopatras in the 1860s; and MartinMilmore created a monumentalAmerican Sphinx (1872) for the MountAuburn Cemetery in Cambridge,Massachusetts. Fuller was specificallyaware of two other artists working withthe trope of EgyptIEthiopia. She hadcorresponded with the historian FreemanMurray and served as a reader for his1916 volume, Emancipation and theFreed in American Sculpture: A Study inInterpretation. Through an exchange ofletters, they discussed sculptor DanielChester French's figure of Africa forThe Four Continents (fig. 7), which wasexecuted for the U.S. Custom Housein New York City and highlighted inMurray's book. French's large-scale figureof Africa was flanked by a sphinx anda lion. Murray saw the figure as anEthiopian type; Fuller read the figureas symbolic of Africa, remarking thatFrench "probably strove to suggest allthe African types, Egyptian etc." In herreview of the manuscript, Fuller alsocertainly saw and read about AnneWhitney's now-destroyed Ethiopia (fig.8), which Murray reproduced. Murrayquoted from an 1883 publication titledOur Famous Women for a description ofWhitney's monumental sculpture:[S'he saw in the near fiture the deliverance of a racefiom imbruting bondage,and, later, the illumination of the darkcontinentfiom which it sprang. This grand

and mighty conception she sought to embodyinform. . . . The symbolization is that ofa colossal Ethiopian woman, in a halfrecumbentposition. . . . She has been sleepingfor ages in the glowing sands of thedesert, out of which she is l@ing herself:. . .Half rising, with sleep yet heavy on her eyelids, she supports herselfon the left handand arm, while she listens with fear andwonder to the sound of broken chains andshackles filling around hex 1 0Remarkably, Murray wrote that hethought Whitney's work should be titled"Ethiopia Awakening for its "representative expression of the faith, hope, andthe 'high resolve' of the noblest heartsand minds of the time." Equally important for this discussion, Whitney hadinscribed on the base of her sculpturea verse taken from Psalm 68:3 1: "AndEthiopia Shall Lift Up her Hands UntoGod-a slight rephrasing of the KingJames passage. African American thinkersoften cited this biblical scripture in bothpolitical and literary works to evoke aprophecy of the universal freedom ofblacks from bondage. From as early asJanuary 1915 Fuller expressed her desireto create a similar figure. She wroteMurray then of her interest in the theme"The Rise of Ethiopia," whichshe hoped "someday to attempt." InApril 1915 she reported to him that shewas considering the same theme for asculpture to be submitted to the LincolnJubilee and Exposition in Chicago. Ultimately, she did not have time, however,to complete such a work until Johnsoncommissioned the piece for the America'sMaking Exposition. Fuller's early interestin the topic of Ethiopia may have causedwriter Alain Locke to misdate the sculpture in his influential 1940 book TheNegro in Art, an error that was carriedover in much subsequent scholarship.llThe western fascination with EgyptEgyptomania-extends from Romantimes to our new millennium. Napoleon'scampaign into Egypt in 1798 heightenedEuropeans' interest in the connectionsbetween the classical cultures of Greeceand Rome and ancient Egypt. By themid-nineteenth century, Americanshad incorporated the Egyptian styleinto funerary architecture; later, theyadapted designs to the fine and decorative arts including sculpture, painting,furniture, wallpaper, and sundry otherhousehold items. With the discoveryof King Tutankhamun's tomb in late1922, the American public expresseda renewed interest in all thingsEgyptian.12In contrast to the popular craze forEgyptian forms, Egyptology stressedthe serious study of culture, history, andartifacts. During the nineteenth century,historians were engaged in a contentiousdebate about the ethnicity of Egyptians.In a time when racial classification wasconsidered a legitimate scientific tool,determining Egyptians' race was ofutmost importance, for Egypt was considered a cradle of civilization. Severalmodern-day scholars have noted thatAmericans often used Egyptology tojustify slavery and polygenesis, thenotion that the races had differentorigins. For the polygenists, the conceptof a single family tree of the races wasabhorrent, particularly the idea thatthe Caucasian and African races sharedthe same lineage. In their promulgationof racial hierarchy, advocates of polygenesis saw Caucasians as the primaryrace while all others were degenerateforms.13The field of Egyptology had createddoubt about the nature of this racialhierarchy. French scholar ConstantinFran oisChasseboeuf, Comte de Volney(1747-1825), for example, asserted thatEgyptians were of the black race, statingthat ancient Egypt was founded by "arace of men now rejected from societyfor their sable skin and frizzled hair." Hisfindings and those of Dominique VivantDenon (1747-1825), the scientificleader of the Napoleonic expedition to

Egypt in 1798, were later disputed bywhite scholars from Britain and theUnited States. Americans, such as SamuelGeorge Morton in his 1839 CraniaAmericana and 1844 Crania Aegyptiaca,used phrenology and Egyptology toprove that Egyptians were indeed ofthe white race. Morton argued that hecould determine race from the featuresof skulls and concluded that the majorityof Egyptians were not African. Underlying his purported scientific methodwas the belief that such a great civilization could only have been created by theCaucasian race.'*Fuller's decision to reference Egypt inform and to racialize Ethiopia? featuresmust be understood in light of earlyAfrican American scholars' claims ofracial linkage to Egypt. Within the AfricanAmerican community, late-nineteenthcentury scholars emphatically declaredthe blackness of the Egyptians, refutingracial hierarchies and offering- an alternative paradigm to the white historical discourse that placed Egypt in relation toGreco-Roman civilization. Dispelling thehypothesis that blacks had no cultureand were biblically destined to be slaves,the African American historians' claim ofa black Egypt provided an ancient andnoble lineage that disputed white historical hegemony. The historian AugustMeier has noted that African Americans'interest in establishing a black history,particularly one with ancient traditions,was rooted in "the need to assert andprove their equality with whites as ameans of convincing whites of their worthiness . . . and the need to give themselves a sense of dignity and pride ofrace."ls Fuller acknowledgedthis needfor historical validation and vindication,and rendered a regal physiognomy thatcelebrated blackness. African Americanviewers of the time would have understood her reference to ancient historyand her sculpture's significance as anobject that exemplified the continuationof black cultural "genius."21American ArtThe Legacy of EthiopiaEthiopia was a lace that held longstanding interest for African Americans. In thenineteenth and early twentieth centuries,the term "Ethiopia" was employed in anumber of ways: to describe the wholecontinent of Africa, but also to indicatethe actual modern state of Ethiopia(Abyssinia) or to refer to ancientEthiopia (Kush). African Americanschampioned modern Ethiopia forseveral reasons. Emperor Menelik I1 ofAbyssinia, who was descended from athree thousand-year-old monarchy thathad embraced Christianity in the fourthcentury, defeated the Italians in 1896,becoming the first African leader toremove a colonial power. The black presscelebrated his victory and in December1913 mourned his death. For the blackcommunity in the United States, Ethiopiasymbolically represented a source ofblack power and pride and functionedas a symbolic homeland.16African Americans also linkedEthiopianism to a Christian propheticvision of Africa in two ways. They associated it with the rise of black independentchurches in South Africa from the 1870sto the 1890s. For them, Ethiopianismwas a literary-religious tradition as well,derived from the Christian biblical scripture of Psalm 68:3 1. This passage wascited as early as 1808 in a sermon delivered by Peter Williams Jr. at Saint Phillip'sAfrican Church in New York City. Thepoet Francis Ellen Watkins Harper borrowed the phrasing in her circa 1855poem "Ethiopia":Ye, Ethiopia yet shall stretchHer bleeding hands to GodHer cry of agony shall reachThe burning throne of God'Both Williams and Harper used the versein relation to the abolition of slavery. Inthe nineteenth and early twentieth century, African and African American clergy

and lay leaders understood the Psalm asa biblical prediction that Africa and itspeoples would be delivered from bondage.They used the "Ethiopian prophecy" insermons, anti-slavery writings, publicspeeches, and even in the design ofmastheads of newspapers such as theBhck Republican in New Orleans andthe Freeman in Indianapolis.17 Fuller'sEthiopia clearly references Psalm 68:3 1,with her rendering of the figure's handbreaking free from the bindings.The interest in Ethiopia could be seenas well in black revisionist history textsfrom the nineteenth and early twentiethcentury. In his Histo y of the Negro Racein America (1886), black historian GeorgeWashington Williams presented the mostsignificant early account of ancient Africa.Not only did Williams trumpet the importance of Egypt as a great black civilization, he also traced Egypt's origins toEthiopia, using the translated work of theancient Greek historian Herodotus. Otherblack thinkers, including Edward Blyden,Joseph Casely Hayford, and Du Bois,incorporated the ideas of Ethiopianisminto their writings. For example, CaselyHayford's Ethiopia Unbound (191 I), acombination of novel and political commentary, focused on Ethiopia as a symbolof black independence.18Du Bois's widely read 1915 survey ofAfrican history titled The Negro relied onboth the Williams and Casely Hayfordtexts as source material. In The Negro,Du Bois reclaimed Egypt for the continent of Africa. Using archaeologicalevidence, he emphasized that Egyptianmonuments showed distinctly "Negroand mulatto faces." Most importantly, hetraced Egypt's origins to Ethiopia. Thus,for Du Bois and black historians, the earliest known civilization was based inEthiopia, a black nation. In his book ToWake the Nations, Eric Sundquist arguesthat the black revisionist writings ofDu Bois and others conveyed threeimportant ideas to their readers: theycountered racist historiography; they pro-GAe 73ooh ofERICA'S MAKINGEXPOSZTICIN1ST.REGIMENT ARNN E W YORKOCTOBER 2 9 - N w E M B nUbIDERthr AUSTATE DEPARTBJCATIONvided a source of communal pride; andthey created "a reservoir of ideas to spurnew conceptualizations of race consciousness."l9 Ethiopia embodied these newconceptualizations with its referencesto ancient Egypt and to Ethiopianism;Fuller's awakening black woman indicated a nation reclaiming its rightfulplace in history and asserting racialpride.The America's Making ExpositionWhile Egypt and Ethiopia were primarysources of artistic and intellectual inspiration for Fuller's sculpture, the America'sMaking Exposition of 1921 provided theoriginal context for its display. Withfunding from the Carnegie Foundationand John D. Rockefeller, the exposition'sorganizing committee invited thirty-three"racial groups" to participate in the fifteen-day civic affair (figs. 9 and 10). Itdefined immigrants as "all groups of newcomers who have settled in America from1607 to date, during the period in whichtheir racial distinctiveness is retained."These loosely defined "immigrants"

RTHEHE AMF,KICA-hllZK1NGIS A REGULAR BUSINESS9Cover of The Book ofAmerica?Making Ejcposition (New York:City and State Departments ofEducation, 1921)10 Illustrations of posters fromThe Book ofAmerica? MakingEjcpositionranged from groups who had arrived ascolonists, indentured servants, and slavesin the seventeenth century to the wave ofEastern Europeans entering the UnitedStates in the late nineteenth and earlytwentieth centuries. The authors of theforeword to the official book of theexposition declared the nation to be "aland of one people" to which each immigrant population had brought uniquegifts and "laid them on the Altar ofAmerica." They further stated that"hatred of old-time neighbors, nationalprejudices and ambitions, traditionalfears, set standards of living, gacelessintolerance, class rights and the demandof class-these were barred at the gates."In her study of the exposition, theaterhistorian Ilana Abrarnovitch has aptlyremarked that "America's Making combined the pageantry of American nationalism with an exhibition of cultural difference in the name of Americanization."The organizers highlighted cultural pluralism as the ostensible purpose of thefestival, but a belief in assimilation anda unified American cultural identityunderscored their rhetoric.2023 American ArtAs outlined by its officers and executive committee, the festival sought todemonstrate "the most important historical, economic, and cultural contributionsthat Americans of various descent" hadmade to the nation. An article in theNew k r k Times described the functionof the public spectacle in larger, moreprogressive terms, saying: "[It is] a movement to abolish the racial prejudicegrowing out of the war, to bring about abetter understanding by all Americansof the part played in the development ofthe country by every one of the races ofimmigrants who sought our shores, toinstill an adequate understanding of thegreatness of America, and to demonstratethat the country may weather any and allstorrns."21New York City Mayor John Hylanand New York Governor Nathan Millerpraised the America's Making Expositionfor its symbolic representation of assimilation. While citing the diversity ofparticipants during opening-eveningremarks, Miller stated, "We have beencalled a melting pot, and it is very significant that there are thirty-three differentraces who are uniting in this effort toteach America what each separately andaltogether collectively have done to contribute to the making of America." Thenarrative of harmony among people ofdifferent origins, appearances, and experiences did not prevent controversy: various groups debated issues such as whohad discovered America and who hadmade the most valuable contributions.African American participants, however,apparently did not engage in these conflicts about past roles.22Although African Americans had beenforcibly brought to the United States asslaves, the planning committee invitedthem to the fair as "honorary immigrants." Organizers of the "ColoredSection" exhibit-a collaborative effortby the NAACP and the National UrbanLeague-did not acknowledge this "honorary" status, choosing to sublimate the

Often excluded from pageants in localcommunities, blacks frequently foundthemselves stereotyped in historical spectacles and exhibits based on images frompopular theater that glorified the Southand minstrel shows that portrayed blacksas comic buffoons. Since Reconstruction,their status in the United States haddeteriorated significantly. By the turn ofthe nineteenth century, lynching was onan upswing, large numbers of AfricanAmericans lived in poverty in both therural South and urban North, and progressive politics seemed to have had littleimpact on segregation and racism. The1915 release of D. W. Griffith's film TheBirth of a Nation embodied the nativistimpulses of the period: the movie angeredmembers of the African American community with its ignominious stereotypesand engendered a national protest campaign.24 With artworks like Ethiopia andparticipation in events like the America'sMaking Exposition, the African Americanintelligentsia had a chance to producenew represeatations of blacks, even as"honorary immigrants."Through displays that focused on theindustrial contributions and educationalwork of African Americans, Johnson, DuBois, and others aspired to enlighten thelarger white population, to uplift the race,and to locate themselves as integral toAmerican history and life (see fig. 11 forDu Bois's early exhibit of similar materialfor the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition).As contributing editor of the New YorkAge, Johnson promoted the America'sMaking Exposition in his weekly column,writing, "This affair offers the coloredpeople of New York City and State greatopportunity. . . . 'America's Making' givesus the opportunity to bring to the eyes ofhundreds and thousands of pe

called Ethiopia, Awakening Ethiopia, Ethiopia Awakening, or The Awakening of Ethiopia. A later, sixty-seven-inch plaster figure, similar in design, is pictured here (frontispiece).2 Art historians such as David Driskell, Judith Wilson, and Richard Powell have rightly discussed this sculpture in terms of its Pan-African ideals and the way in

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