Help me identify these black heroines
May 4, 2014 10:03 AM   Subscribe

I saw an interesting folk art painting in a shop window the other day. It's a group portrait of about a dozen renowned black women. I could only name some of them off hand, though, and was trying to figure out who the rest were. Can you help?

Here's an image of the original painting, and here's one with the figures numbered.

This is what I've got so far:

1 --- Michelle Obama
3 --- Maya Angelou
7 – Harriet Tubman
9 – Madame C.J. Walker?
11 – Oprah?
posted by Diablevert to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
10 looks like Rosa Parks to me.
posted by maximum sensing at 10:05 AM on May 4, 2014

8 might be Toni Morrison.
posted by maximum sensing at 10:13 AM on May 4, 2014

2 is definitely Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
posted by maximum sensing at 10:18 AM on May 4, 2014

I think 9 is Mary McLeod Bethune.
posted by wintersweet at 10:19 AM on May 4, 2014

2 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

What maximum sensing said
posted by travelwithcats at 10:19 AM on May 4, 2014

5 is Coretta Scott King.
posted by the webmistress at 10:32 AM on May 4, 2014

I think 8 is Winnie Mandela.
posted by cazoo at 10:43 AM on May 4, 2014

Could 6 be Carol Moseley Braun?
posted by maximum sensing at 10:53 AM on May 4, 2014

I think 12 is Anna Tibaijuka.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:32 AM on May 4, 2014

13 is Dr Wangari Maathai, I think.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:41 AM on May 4, 2014

Best answer: Here is the artist's website (?). The title of the paining is "Sisters in Conference". Scroll to the bottom row to see it. You've encountered a later version, which is different than the original.
posted by travelwithcats at 11:43 AM on May 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

What's interesting to me is that my eye for pattern recognition is better than my knowledge of important Black women--I wouldn't have dreamed that was Amy Garvey.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:49 AM on May 4, 2014

Interesting: the artist also has a male version, "Ancestors in Conference". On both, there's a wispy figure of a person (female in yours, male in "Ancestors") in the left rear, between the curtains. Anybody know what that figure signifies?
posted by easily confused at 12:13 PM on May 4, 2014

Response by poster: awesome work, guys.
posted by Diablevert at 1:27 PM on May 4, 2014

I was trying to identify all the men in "Ancestors in Conference" painting and I found one mention that the wispy figure in that painting represents "the Unknown Soldier". In the "Sisters" painting, maybe the figure similarly represents uncelebrated heroines throughout history.
posted by dahliachewswell at 2:05 PM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

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