Edited by M. Therese Southgate, MD,
Senior Contributing Editor.
Inspired by Howard University philosophy
professor Alain Locke, and by her graduate art professor at the
University of Iowa, Grant Wood, Elizabeth Catlett (1915- ) chose
to portray in her painting what she knew best: her own people in their
everyday lives and work. Catlett, the granddaughter of slaves, was born
in Washington, DC, on April 15, 1915, the youngest of three children of
John and Mary Carson Catlett. Both parents were schoolteachers, but
when her mathematician father died at an early age, her mother had to
supplement the family income by sometimes taking on menial jobs.
Kelley HO. Sharecropper. JAMA. 1999;281(5):401. doi:10.1001/jama.281.5.401