Ode to the Happy Negro Hugging the Flag
In Robert Colescott’s 1975 painting George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook, the famed American inventor is depicted standing at the bow of a rowboat making its way across an intrepid Delaware River. Carver is accompanied by a band of Sambo-esque figures, including one Revolutionary War army general who hugs the American flag with a kind of serenity about his expression. The painting is a response to—or a refusal of—an earlier painting by a German American artist, completed in 1851, showing George Washington and his all-white cadre in the same scene.
Anaïs Duplan is the author of a full-length poetry collection, Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016) and a chapbook, Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus (Monster House Press, 2017). Their poems and essays have been published by Hyperallergic, PBS News Hour, the Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, Bettering American Poetry, and Ploughshares. Their music criticism has appeared in Complex magazine and Thump.