Porter bequeathed to those who have come after him an unusual legacy, the fruit of a creative mind whose eminence in art education was of such magnitude that he has been accorded a singular place in the history of African American art. Much of what we know about the cultural legacy that Blacks in the visual arts inherited from their African forebearers has come to us by way of his writings. Porterís Modern Negro Art the classic work on the subject, was the first such book to denote and define the African impulse in the visual arts in the United States. Without his knowledge and constant vision of the role that artists of African descent played in American visual culture, many of us who attempt to carry on this noble tradition and to correct the omissions so inherent in African art history would be without the guidance we extol to others.

     I am one, among many such persons, who, blessed beyond account, benefited thoroughly from Porterís wisdom and wise counsel. He served as my mentor at Howard University, where I studied the history of art and the practice of painting as an under-graduate. He inspired me to see art, particularly the practice of painting, as a necessary accompaniment to the study of art history, and I learned from him the dual pursuit of these noble endeavors.



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February 2001