Pastel on cream wove paper, circa 1940. 685x558 mm; 27x22 inches. Signed in pastel, lower right.
Provenance: the estate of Claude A. Barnett and Etta Moten Barnett, Chicago.
Illustrated: Langston Hughes. The Negro Speaks of Rivers. As Sung by Etta Moten. Music by Margaret Bonds, Words by Langston Hughes., Handy Brothers Music, New York, 1942, cover illustration. This drawing is reproduced on the cover of this printed sheet music. A photograph of this drawing is also located in Photographs of Prominent African Americans, James Weldon Johnson Collection in the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Etta Moten Barnett (1901 - 2004) was a popular African American actress and vocalist, who was best known for her signature role of Bess in Porgy and Bess. She married Claude Albert Barnett (1889 - 1967) in 1934. Barnett was an influential and trailblazing national figure - an important media entrepreneur, journalist and one of the principal organizers of the Chicago Negro Exposition in 1940. Barnett is also known as the founder of the Associated Negro Press in 1919, the first Black news service in the country, connecting Black newspapers across the country. By 1950, Barnett's news organization had became an influential international news source. The Barnetts travelled the world together - he frequently to report on African events for the ANP. In March 1957, Moten Barnett interviewed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Accra, Ghana, when the Barnetts, along with Vice President Richard Nixon, attended the celebration of Ghana's independence from Great Britain.