A work of art depicting a group of African Americans walking during a funeral procession by Ellis Wilson. This art print became very popular in 1985 when it played a major part in an episode of “The Cosby Show”. It hung in the home of The Huxtables from that episode until the series ended eight years later. The original work of art is currently displayed in New Orleans, Louisiana at Tulane University’s Amistad Research Center as a member of the Aaron Douglas Collection.
Wilson was born in Mayfield, Kentucky. In 1916 he began attending Kentucky State College, moving in 1919 to study at the Chicago Art Institute. In 1928 he moved to Harlem, New York, where he joined the Harlem Artists Guild and worked at a brokerage house. From 1941 to 1944 he worked in an aircraft engine factory. He was also commissioned to create triptychs for US Army and Navy chaplains. In 1944 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and subsequently travelled through the southern United States. In 1952 he travelled to Haiti, an experience that resulted in numerous paintings. Although Wilson had several exhibitions and won several prizes for his paintings he never became wealthy. He died on either January 1 or 2, 1977, and was buried in a pauper’s grave. The exact date of his death and site of his grave are unknown.