,” the writer Stacey Patton suggests that for a long time, scholars, including black scholars, have avoided mentioning the word “sex,” let alone discussing it openly.
In 1980, objects from the Warren Robbins collection became part of the museum, including works by 19th century artists Joshua Johnson, the earliest documented professional African-American painter; classical landscapes by Edward Mitchell Bannister and Robert Scott Duncanson; and neoclassical sculptures by Edmonia Lewis, the first professional African American sculptor.
Six years later, the museum acquired more than four-hundred works by folk and self-taught artists from the holdings of Waide Hemphill, Jr.
From an important grouping of recently acquired works by self-taught artist Bill Traylor to William H.
Johnson’s vibrant portrayals of faith and family, to Mickalene Thomas’s contemporary exploration of black female identity, the museum’s holdings reflect its long-standing commitment to black artists and the acquisition, preservation, and display of their works.