David Breslin: Elizabeth Catlett made this body of prints, I Am the Negro Woman, in 1947 at a workshop in Mexico City. 

Narrator: David Breslin is the DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the collection. 

David Breslin: This group of works are linoleum woodcuts that feature some known figures like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Phyllis Wheatley, and the idea that their labor—now-famous black women’s labor—should be celebrated, seen, and be made as a model. But also within this group of works are “unknown women” and the invisible labor. Whether it’s in the home, or in the field, or in the factory, that frequently wasn’t seen or wasn’t made heroic. For Catlett, the idea was not only to celebrate these exemplary figures like [Sojourner] Truth, but also to celebrate the everyday labor of ones who have not been noticed—who go unnoticed throughout their work.

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