Henry Ossawa Tanner is a world-famous "Negro" artist almost unknown in his native America. I'm publishing this story in acknowledgment of Martin Luther King Day, 2010.
Why isn't Henry Ossawa Tanner a household name? He is a major American artist with an international reputation. Is he relatively unknown here because he is an African American? He has been acclaimed among black leaders including Booker T. Washington, Edward Bannister, and W.E.B. DuBois. Tanner's solid accomplishments in painting and his illustrious family history, together with their relative exclusion from American arts and letters, make a strong argument for multiculturalism - in this case the inclusion of non-white-male artists in the canons of our books and universities.