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Coleman 6

Beginning in the 1920's the situation changed; art instruction at Black colleges was expanded and strengthened. And as early as the 1930's, Black colleges and universities could boast among their faculties many very capable artists and educators. James V. Herring, Lois Mailou Jones, James L. Wells and James A. Porter at Howard; Viktor Lowenfeld and Joseph Gilliard at Hampton Institute (now University); Aaron Douglas at Fisk, and Isaac Hathaway at Tuskegee Institute (now University), to name some of the pioneers.

Through the development of a cadre of Black artists, educators and potential connoisseurs of art, Black colleges and universities served to introduce and continuously sustain a fine arts tradition in the South. Well known for its leadership role in art instruction since its Art Department was founded in 1921, Howard University, as Keith Morrison has observed in his Art in Washington and Its Afro-American Presence, 1940-1970, was one of the first institutions to consistently promote modernist art in Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas. However, in the Deep South, of all the Black colleges and universities to assume and early prominent role in educating artists, Atlanta University occupied a singular place. Hale Woodruff, a native of Cairo, Illinois, was hired to teach art at Atlanta University in 1931. Woodruff's leadership as a teacher and artist in the South was well earned: a graduate of John Herron Art Institute, winner of the Harmon Foundation Bronze Medal Award in 1926, student at the Academe Scandinave, Academie Moderne,