Paul Laurence Dunbar, son of a slave, penned this tribute to Whittier in honor of the 38 years Whittier’s pen fought slavery. Whittier’s My Soul and I describes a life of humility before God and disposition toward the oppressed. I drew his portrait with that poem. (A use of type or letterform to form an image is called a CALLIGRAM.) The plain monochromatic tones represent the simplicity of his Quaker upbringing.
Risking reproach, I dismantled the 1863 volume of Whittier’s poems, reasoning that the beautiful book would be enjoyed and appreciated under glass by more people than wrapped in a pillow case in my bottom drawer.
John Greenleaf Whittier (December 17, 1807 – September 7, 1892) was an influential American Quaker poet and ardent advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States.
This piece was shown, and sold, in Portland’s 23 Sandy Gallery, July 2012. www.23sandy.com/works/products-page/poetic-pen/dunbar-on-whittier