During Spring Break, my boyfriend and I visited the Dallas Museum of Art. Surprisingly, this was my first time, which I find astonishing because I have only lived in the D/FW my entire life. We enjoy visiting museums and when we visit museums we pay special attention to the art of Texas artist. Otis Dozier is an artist who I have heard of on numerous occasions, and this piece of art by him titled “Cotton Pickers” really spoke to me. I immediately thought of Langston Hughes’ poem, “Let America Be Great Again”. In the poem he talks about the lack of freedom for he and his African-American counterparts, and how that the white privilege was real.
White people were the only ones that truly lived free. In the painting, you see two people, presumable black, picking cotton. To me, because of the time frame of when Otis Dozier was lived, I feel like he painted what he saw on a day to day basis growing up. Negro workers in the fields picking cotton so that people like him can enjoy the luxury of staying warm or having soft clothes. The question that remains with me, is that were “cotton pickers” really free? Were they living the American Dream? The American Dream to me is freedom. The freedom that I can be and do whatever I may please. I can understand that these “cotton pickers” felt confined and could only live at the will of their master or their slave owners. Langston Hughes, just like the people in this painting do not feel free. In the poem, Hughes talks about being “the man who never got ahead”, I could understand that these “cotton pickers” also feel the same way. Because of their skin, their version of the American Dream can never be obtained, and this was something that they could not help.