The problem we all live with

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This document is an illustration for the American magazine Look, published in January 1964. It is a painting by the American painter Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) and it can be found in the NormanRockwell Museum. It measures 91.4 by 147.3 cms. The title is “The Problem We All Live With”.

On this painting, the main character in the foreground is a little black girl. She is in the street. She’sgot a ruler and copybooks in her hand. She is probably walking to school. She is wearing a white dress, white socks and white shoes that contrast with her dark skin. She is surrounded or ratherescorted by four men wearing a uniform or a suit, a yellow armband and a police badge. They are tall and impressive ; we can’t see their faces. They all look alike. They must be policemen or bodyguards. Inthe background, we can see a wall : ‘nigger’ is written on it. There are tomatoes on the pavement/Someone threw a tomato.

The problem the painter is dealing with is racism in his country becausethere is a racist insult written on the wall. Maybe the girl was assaulted, maybe she did something wrong or perhaps her parents can’t come to her school to fetch her. We can imagine the little girl is avictim of racism and the policemen are here to protect her.

On this painting, Norman Rockwell wanted to describe what Black people had to put up with in America in the 1960s. At that time BlackPeople were discriminated. What strikes me is the realism of the painting : it looks like a photo.

Cette peinture est parue dans le magazine Look en 1964. C'est l'image d'une petite fille courageuseentrant dans une école où doit être appliquée la déségrégation voulue par l'Etat fédéral et imposée par la Cour Suprême. Elle est donc encadrée par des agents fédéraux. A noter, l'inscription"nigger" et les traces de tomates sur le mur. Cette image témoigne de la difficulté d'imposer la déségrégation à un Sud blanc qui n'en veut pas.

The Problem We All Live With, 1964

Ces deux oeuvres, et...