Jan 22, 2015 - Sale 2372

Sale 2372 - Lot 288

Price Realized: $ 10,625
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,500 - $ 5,000
The Rabbits' Wedding. "And they danced in a wedding circle." Ink wash, pencil, and charcoal on board. 295x475 mm; 11 3/4x18 3/4 inches, image. Signed lower right. Matted and framed.

Additional Details

Published as a double-page illustration on pp. 26-27 of the book with accompanying text: "Then they picked dandelions and put them in their ears. All the other little rabbits came out to see how happy they both were, and they danced in a wedding circle around the little black rabbit and the little white rabbit." With two ink transparency overlays of the background image mounted to frame verso, and later (1986) reprint of the book.

The picture book made national news when segregationist Senator E. O. Eddins demanded that it be removed from all libraries in his home state of Alabama and burned. He found the marriage of a white and a black rabbit to be racially offensive, nothing more than bunny miscegenation. The Montgomery, Ala. State News accused it of being integration propaganda for preschoolers. An Orlando, Fla. paper called it "brainwashing." Library Agency Director Emily Wheelock Reed of Montgomery came to the book's defense and a compromise was worked out: it was segregated to reserve sections of the libraries rather than freely available on the open shelves and it could be borrowed only on special request. "I was completely unaware that animals with white fur, such as white polar bears and white dogs and white rabbits, were considered blood relations of white beings," Williams replied to the criticism. "I was only aware that a white horse next to a black horse looks very picturesque." He did not write the story for adults who, he said, "will not understand it, because it is only about a soft furry love and has no hidden message of hate." Williams was secretly delighted with the controversy. It made the book a bestseller.