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To Marry

To Marry, Elizabeth Catlett (American/Mexican, 1915-2012), 1992, color lithograph on cream paper, 2017.1.

Elizabeth Catlett was an African American artist and art teacher whose unparalleled body of politically charged sculpture and graphics mark her as one of the most notable American artists of the 20th century. Catlett was unique in her view on the purpose of art by determining to make her art give voice to the enduring dignity, strength, and achievements of black women and other disenfranchised peoples.

To Marry is based on this verse of the 1942 poem For My People by Margaret Walker.

“For the boys and girls who grew in spite of these things to
be man and woman, to laugh and dance and sing and
play and drink their wine and religion and success, to
marry their playmates and bear children and then die
of consumption and anemia and lynching…”

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