Exhibitions: Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties

Winold Reiss: Black Prophet

Black Prophet, also known as The African, belongs to a significant group of portraits completed by Winold Reiss for Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro, a special 1925 issue of the journal Survey Graphic celebrating Harlem’s rising urban culture. The sitters were chosen by Alain Locke and other leaders of the New Negro movement, who sought to expand and dignify the image of black Americans. Distinguished by his heroic form and traditional dress, this sitter represented one element of what Locke called the “race capital” of Harlem, with its “concentration of so many diverse elements of Negro life,” including “the African, the West Indian [and] the Negro American.”