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Special Houses

1946 (1989 reprint)
Elizabeth Catlett, Mexican (born United States), 1915 - 2012. Printed by Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, New York, 1948 - 2001

Special Houses shows two women framed by a setting of tenement buildings, calling attention to housing inequality in the US. It comes from a series of fifteen prints by Elizabeth Catlett that, as a whole, outline the contributions, hardships, and resilience of Black women in America. While the first two-thirds of the series focus on the labor and production of African American women, the last five prints’ titles tell us: "My reward has been bars between me and the rest of the land;" "I have special reservations;" "Special houses;" "And a special fear for my loved ones;" and "My right is a future of equality with other Americans."

Despite the negative "rewards" described by Special Houses and the prints representing segregation and lynching that immediately precede and follow it, Catlett concludes her series with hope—looking toward a future in which Black women have achieved the equality that is their right.


Object Details

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