Rev. Cooper's PORTRAYAL OF NEGRO LIFE
Cooper, William Arthur. A PORTRAYAL OF NEGRO LIFE. Raleigh, N.C.: Division of Cooperation in Education and Race Relations; Cooperating Institutions: State Department of Public Instruction; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Duke University, Durham; [printed by the Seeman Printery, Durham], 1936. [xii], 110 pages; numerous full-page portraits reckoned in the pagination. Original green cloth stamped in gold. [23.5]. Very good. Small, light stain at base of spine. Very inconspicuous traces of damping at lower edges of some leaves and a few minor traces of marginal foxing or soiling, but general appearance of interior is clean.
FIRST EDITION. Twenty-seven full-page portraits of African Americans reproducing paintings by the author, including his self-portrait. Cooper provides a page of comments for each of his subjects except himself. His self-portrait is accompanied by a biographical sketch, "William Arthur Cooper, Painter and Preacher," by Walter Spearman. The other portraits depict educators, clergymen, businessmen, professionals, and laborers. Twelve of the portraits are of women and three are of children. William Arthur Cooper (b. 1895), a native of Hillsborough, N.C., received a bachelor's in theology at the National Religious Training School in Durham in 1914. In addition to preaching, he worked as an insurance salesman, teacher and school principal. He studied law at night and was admitted to the N.C. bar in 1922. A self-taught painter, he received acclaim for his portraiture and his works were exhibited by the Harmon Foundation. Spearman notes, "Now a member of the North Carolina Interracial Commission, Rev. Cooper is doing his best to foster a more friendly feeling and a better understanding between races. He and his paintings have made a `good will' tour through North Carolina and Virginia with the Hampton Quartet into the Negro high schools and colleges and into white colleges and universities." --p. 109. Cooper explains in his preface, "Showing the real Negro through art is the primary purpose of this book. Unless we have a record of the Negro that is neither burlesqued with blackface nor idealized with sentimentality, the younger generation of Negroes with be deprived of the just inspiration from their own race -- and the white people may fail to understand the need for a spirit of interracial cooperation." --p. vii. Thornton 2706.
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