K-12EducatorsLearnersThe Arts

Poor Man’s Africa

The Introduction to Ellis Wilson excerpt provides a context for the excerpt Poor Man’s Africa. Wilson (1899-1977) was an African-American painter from Mayfield, Kentucky, whose work honored the everyday lives of people of color. The Poor Man’s Africa segment focuses on Wilson’s travels to Haiti in the 1950s and their effect on his work. His paintings from this period illustrate the distinctive style that would become the hallmark of his work—flat shapes, sharp contrasts, bright colors, and patterned backgrounds with little attention, if any, given to facial features and details.

Classroom activities and discussion questions available on PBS LearningMedia.

Visit Resource