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TAGS: African Americans; Arts; McCleary Washington {Bunch Washington); Painting; Shamsi Sedaghat
LOCATIONS: United States (documents)
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On the experiences of Black artists; biographical notes on McCleary “Bunch” Washington; African-American spiritual songs.

Views from a Black Artist in the Century of Light

by Elizabeth de Souza

published in Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 30:3, pages 37-50
Ottawa, ON: Association for Bahá'í Studies North America, 2020
About: Twelve years ago, while planning the funeral service for my father, an artist and author born in Philadelphia in 1937, I found within the pages of one of his journals a phrase that caught my eye: The Sorrow Songs. Beneath it were the words Steal Away, which he’d underlined three times. I knew, of course, of the Negro Spirituals, and that this particular song was about the soul’s flight to freedom, either with or without the body. Since that day, my mind often migrates back to those handwritten words, and sometimes I turn on Mahalia Jackson’s peerless interpretation, and as her voice seeks heaven, I ponder the path bequeathed to me by my father.
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