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Collections> Browse > “WE SHALL OVERCOME”

Image Rights
Courtesy Walker Art Center
© Kerry James Marshall


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Kerry James Marshall
sheet 25-5/8 × 40 inches
relief print on paper
Not on view

Object Details

Prints (Edition Prints/Proofs)
Accession Number
in pencil BR “Kerry James Marshall ‘98”; in pencil BL “1/5”, BC “WE SHALL OVERCOME”
Physical Description
The words “WE SHALL OVERCOME” printed in green ink from a rubber stamp. From a suite of individually titled prints, also including “BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY”, “BURN BABY BURN”, “BLACK POWER”, “BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL”
Credit Line
T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1999
Object Copyright
© Kerry James Marshall

object label Kerry James Marshall, “BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL”, “BLACK POWER”, “BURN BABY BURN”, “BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY”, and “WE SHALL OVERCOME” (1998) Walker Art Center, 2000

“I think we need to remember … that a lot of energy was put into changing things to get us to the point where we are now. But being where we are now doesn’t mean that we don’t have to put in the same kind of energy to get us to a place where we ought to be.”–Kerry James Marshall

Kerry James Marshall, an artist living and working in Chicago, is best known for mural-size, figurative paintings of subjects from African-American history. The prints seen here depict slogans from the Civil Rights movement: “We Shall Overcome” is the title of a hymn synonymous with the non-violent strategies of Martin Luther King, Jr.; “Black Power” is the title of Stokely Carmichael (a.k.a. Kwame Turre’s) black nationalist manifesto. When read together, the prints present messages that progress from love to violence; their colors–red, black, and green–are symbolic of black nationalism. The prints, reminiscent of the work of Pop artist Claes Oldenburg, are made from oversized stamps that were shown together with Marshall’s prints in a 1998 installation of the artist’s work in Chicago.

Label text for Kerry James Marshall, “BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL”, “BLACK POWER”, “BURN BABY BURN”, “BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY”, and “WE SHALL OVERCOME” (1998), from the exhibition State of the Art: Recent Gifts and Acquisitions, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, July 22-October 8, 2000.

Copyright 2000 Walker Art Center