This Day in History: 1910-03-20

Boston-based African American artist Allan Rohan Crite is born. Crite won several honors, including the 350th Harvard University Anniversary Medal. Crite sought to depict the life of African-Americans living in Boston in a new and different way: as ordinary citizens or the “middle class” rather than stereotypical jazz musicians or sharecroppers. Through his art, he intended to tell the story of African Americans as part of the fabric of American society and its reality. By using representational style rather than modernism, Crite felt that he could more adequately “report” and capture the reality that African Americans were part of but often unaccounted for. Crite explained his body of work as having a common theme: “I’ve only done one piece of work in my whole life and I am still at it. I wanted to paint people of color as normal humans. I tell the story of man through the black figure.” [Image of Crite’s painting, Douglass Square, Boston. Oil. 20″ x 24″. 1936. Commissioned by the Federal Arts Project]. Learn more.