The Underground Railroad, 1942, oil on canvas, Collection of Savery Library, Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama.
[abolitionist organization] that gathered the
funds to hire the defense team to defend these
slaves, and they hired John Quincy Adams,”
he points out.
For Robinson, the show is personal. He
studied at Atlanta University, now called Clark
Atlanta, where Woodruff taught for 15 years,
launching national exhibits for black artists
whose work was suppressed by segregation.
Woodruff also produced six Art of the Negro
murals that remain a focal point at Clark Atlanta’s historic Trevor Arnett Hall.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I
would be in a museum and be able to host an
exhibition by Hale Woodruff,” says Robinson.
It’s also meaningful to Dallas, he continues, because Woodruff was one of a handful
of artists who exhibited at the Texas Centennial State Fair in 1936 in the Hall of Negro
Life, which stood on the same spot as the African American Museum.
Further, he notes, “Several of us here feel
that we have a personal relationship with his
art because we went to Atlanta University, and
we have some supporters who went to Talla-
The museum has programmed activities
on Saturdays to support the show, including
gallery talks and lectures, performances of the
one-act play Harriet Tubman and the Underground
Railroad, and screenings of Steven Spielberg’s
1997 film Amistad. Plans also call for building
a replica of the schooner in one of the gal-