African American Life in the Civil War Era


Thomas Waterman World

T.W. Wood: A Southern Cornfield, oil on canvas.

Click here to supersize. In celebration of African American History Month, the Passaic County Cultural and Heritage Council at Passaic County Community College is pleased to present an exhibit, African American Life in the Civil War Era, a selection of images by Thomas Waterman Wood. The exhibition is on view in the Broadway and LRC Galleries through February 28, 2003.

The Broadway and LRC Galleries are located at PCCC on Broadway at Memorial Drive, in the downtown historic district of Paterson, New Jersey. Gallery hours are 9 AM to 9 PM Monday through Friday, and 9 AM to 5 PM Saturday. Admission is free.

This exhibition features photographic reproductions of original paintings by Thomas Waterman Wood depicting African Americans in the 19th century. The exhibit includes images from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of American Art (Smithsonian Institution), The Detroit Institute of Fine Arts, and the T.W. Wood Gallery in Montpelier, Vermont.

Thomas Waterman Wood (1823-1903) was well known for his paintings of African American life in the 19th century, many of which addressed the controversial issues of slavery and emancipation. Highlights of the exhibit include A Southern Cornfield (1861), which has been interpreted as slaves contemplating escape; A Bit of War History: The Contraband, The Recruit, The Veteran (1866), a series of three paintings which show African American participation in the Civil War; and American Citizens (To the Polls) (1867), which optimistically addresses the right to vote, depicting a black man and three white men at the polls (the black man later lost that right in the South).

Wood, who was born in Vermont, is best known for his paintings of scenes from everyday life in nineteenth century America, but he earned his living as a successful portrait painter and traveled widely to paint portraits of prominent people. Wood lived periodically in Paterson where he painted the Passaic Falls (1853) and portraits of Patersonians and their families, including the Paterson Library's portrait of Paterson abolitionist Josiah P. Huntoon in 1874.

Primarily self-taught, Thomas Waterman Wood achieved great success, in his own time, as an artist and leader of prestigious art organizations. In 1895, he established the T.W. Wood Art Gallery in Montpelier, Vermont, to house and exhibit his works.

For additional information, please contact Jane Haw, Gallery Curator, at (973) 684-5448.

The Passaic County Cultural and Heritage Council at Passaic County Community College has been named a Distinguished Arts Organization and is funded, in part, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.



Contact: Jane Haw
Phone: (973) 684-5448