Horace Pippin

Racism and War

September 24, 2021–February 19, 2020

This exhibition centers on Horace Pippin’s powerful work, Mr. Prejudice, which represents the artist’s response to the discrimination of African American soldiers fighting in World War II (1939–1945). Painted in 1943, the work shows a bare-chested white man hammering a wedge into the center of a giant “V”—for victory— which cracks under the stress. Pippin, who fought in World War I as part of the 369th Regiment (an African American Infantry division nicknamed the "Harlem Hell Fighters"), knew well how badly African American soldiers were treated after they returned home. Seeing how conditions had not changed for the next generation of African American soldiers, he composed this work to show how such discrimination threatened the war effort abroad and the struggle for equality at home. Mr. Prejudice is shown in conjunction with a series of vintage World War II posters and related materials that were made with African American soldiers in mind. In particular, the exhibition feaatures photographs of the African American "Double-V: Democracy Abroad and at Home" campaign. 


Horace Pippin, Mr. Prejudice courtesy the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Charles "Tennie" Harris's photographs courtesy the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.

Horace Pippin's Memoir of World War I courtesy the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

This is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the Art Bridges Initiative.

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