As a WPA muralist in the 1930s Hale Woodruff was commissioned to create a series of murals for Talladega College in Alabama. His rich, vivid paintings depict historical events from African Americans’ journey from slavery to freedom. It’s easy to see the affinity he shared with artists like Diego Rivera whom Woodruff spent time with studying mural painting in Mexico.
That tutelage is apparent in his relationships with younger artists as well. I love how Hale Woodruff and Charles Alston harmonized their storytelling and artistic styles in their Golden State Mutual Mural. Woodruff’s panel titled, Settlement and Development, picked up where Alston’s Exploration and Colonization (1537-1850) left off, covering the history of California between 1850-1949 which was the year the mural was unveiled at the insurance company’s headquarters.