American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Off to War

Off to War
William Henry Johnson (1901-1970)
Off to War
Silkscreen, ca. 1942
Prints & Photographs Division
Gift of the Harmon Foundation, ca. 1970 (73.5)

More than one million African American men and women served in World War II. Artist William Henry Johnson's war images often represented groups of soldiers in training camps, but this piece focuses on one soldier's parting from family and home. It bears the influence both of modern abstraction and of the Harlem-based New Negro Movement, which encouraged African-American creativity driven by its own innate identity and unconstrained by Western traditions.

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