Watercolor on paper adhered to cradled wood panel; 28" x 28", unframed
This is part of my series "Oregon's Painted History" - which depicts some of the more colorful, less-known stories from bygone days in Oregon.
Ms. Cannady was the first black woman to practice law in Oregon and she lent her strong voice to the cause of equality, even helping to author the state’s first civil rights legislation (which failed). Not only was she a cofounder of the Portland chapter of the NAACP, she edited Oregon’s largest African American newspaper. In 1928—nearly three decades before Rosa Parks’ famous protest—she refused to cede her seat to a white patron in a Portland theater and won.
Cannady worked to build bridges among the African American and white communities in Oregon, hence her bridge-themed crown. She was known for hosting tea parties in her home that were designed to promote the achievements of African Americans along with interracial understanding and harmony. The tea being poured in the white expanse represents the size of the challenge she faced with her tea parties. The flood of white sludge is a metaphor for the general rule and racist attitudes in Oregon over the years that meant blacks had to work much harder to succeed.
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