Browser Upgrade

Hello. It looks like you are using an older internet browser. For the best user experience we suggest upgrading to a more modern browser.

Click here for some good options Click here to continue with this browser

Plight of the People

23.5 x 32 inches mixed charcoal on paper

The pursuit of civil rights and liberties has been a common theme throughout American history. From the colonial period through the new millennium, key figures in American history have fought, sometimes with their lives, for those “inalienable” rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. These brave citizens fearlessly advocated for nonviolence in a violent world. Some questioned why they practiced nonviolence in the face of threats from authorities that did not embrace the same principles. These nonviolent soldiers of freedom faced – and often paid – the ultimate price for daring America to live up to the promises of the Declaration of Independence and become a country in which liberty is innate and universal, not particular to a ethnicity, creed, or color. The public soon came to recognize the “plight of the people.” It became clear – the protesting Blacks fighting for equal rights were oppressed individuals rebelling against disenfranchisement, trying to effect change lawfully and peacefully against segregationists who used and threatened violence against people who sought to end it.

In “Plight of the People,” Washington depicts a civil rights demonstration that includes protesters from the entire spectrum of African American life – including men, women, children, and teenagers – who are protesting the Jim Crow laws that relegated them to being second class citizens. Their protestations effectively sent the message that marginalized African Americans would not stand silent in the face of racism or discrimination.


For more information and to stay up to date: