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National Portrait Gallery | Toward an African Methodist Episcopal Aesthetic Idyll: Art and Images at Wilberforce University

October 5, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Free—Registration required: https://bit.ly/3dUA4CH
Closed captioning provided.
Presented by Melanee Harvey, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Art History at Howard University. Martha S. Jones, the Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor and Professor of History at the Johns Hopkins University, will moderate the Q & A.
As the first independent African American religious denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church maintains a historic position as one of the oldest surviving African American institutions. Through the use and circulation of visual culture, the AME denomination established a cultural base of Black Formalist sensibilities rooted in uplift and cultural definition.
This presentation will examine the role of art and visual representational strategies of
Wilberforce University, one of the nation’s first historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU), as an aesthetic idyll shaped by Bishop Daniel Payne and AME bishops of the late nineteenth century. Denominational leadership marshalled images of Wilberforce University, the flagship educational institution of the denomination, as evidence of racial advancement through photographs exhibited at national expositions as well as news coverage published in the Christian Recorder. This analysis will also consider the role of art collections and art education at Wilberforce University.
The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the recent passing of Daniel B. Greenberg, whose generosity and that of his wife Susan, makes the Greenberg Steinhauser Forum in American Portraiture possible. The program is hosted by PORTAL, the Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center. The program is hosted by PORTAL, the Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center.