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THORNTON DIAL, SR.

HEADING FOR THE HIGHER PAYING JOBS, 1992

About the Artwork

Here, Thornton Dial represents the historic migration of African Americans from rural to urban communities and from slavery and sharecropping to paid industrial labor. To illustrate this passage, Dial created a succession of three visual fields: a yellow cotton patch in the lower left dissolves into the blackness of underground mines, which explodes into the red-hot furnaces of steel mills. The overseer’s whip writhes all the way across the painting, suggesting the powerlessness of the worker.

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