how i got over

Henry Taylor (b. 1958) how i got over, 2011 Acrylic on canvas 56 1/8 × 75 1/2 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg 2013.11

Drawing from historical moments, personal memories, and encounters with strangers who captivate him, Henry Taylor explores the shared experiences of African Americans. This painting features the high jumper Alice Coachman, who, in 1948 became the first Black woman to win an Olympic gold medal. The title recalls the song “How I Got Over,” popularized by the Famous Ward Sisters in the 1950s and sung by Mahalia Jackson to introduce Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.