If you have been to Howard University or have read The History of Alpha Phi Alpha, A Development in College Life, by Bro. Dr. Charles H. Wesley there is a chance that you may recognize the following memorial tribute to brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha who served in the US armed forces.
Created by Alpha Phi Alpha Bro. James A. Porter and entitled “To Our Heroic Brothers”, the piece gives tribute to those who have served the US military. Brother Porter is known to many as the “father of African American art history,” and he left a strong cultural and educational legacy that is carried on at Howard University even until today.
This painting holds much weight because Bro. Porter was the first scholar to provide a systematic, critical analysis of African-American artists and their works of art. Being an artist himself, he provided a unique and critical approach to the analysis of the work. In 1943, he published Modern Negro Art, the first comprehensive study in the United States of African-American art. Porter decisively placed African-American artists within the framework of American art.
Dedicated to educating and writing about African-American artists, Porter set the foundation for artists and art historians to probe and unearth the necessary skills essential to their artistic and scholarly endeavors.
Below you will see a picture of Brother James A. Porter presenting his painting at Alpha Phi Alpha’s 30th General Convention on December 1944, in New Jersey. Click on the arrow below to see more pictures of the piece.