About this artwork
Walter Ellison’s energetic scene of travelers departing a terminal for numerous destinations foregrounds the harsh realities of racial injustice under Jim Crow in the 1930s. On the left, white passengers, assisted by black porters, embark on vacations to Florida on southbound trains. On the right, black passengers board train cars heading north to Chicago, Detroit, and New York in search of work and opportunities for better lives.
By inscribing his initials, W. W. E., on a suitcase at lower right, the artist personalized this symbolic vision of relocation, loss, and hope. Born in Georgia, he was among the more than six million African Americans who joined the Great Migration from the rural South to the urban North, moving to Chicago by 1926. Ellison studied briefly at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1930s.
- Walter Ellison
- Train Station
- United States (Artist's nationality)
- Oil on cardboard
- Signed lower right: Walter W. Ellison Signed lower right (vertically on suitcase): W W E
- 20 × 36 cm (8 × 14 in.)
- Charles M. Kurtz Charitable Trust and Barbara Neff Smith and Solomon Byron Smith funds; through prior gifts of Florence Jane Adams, Mr. and Mrs. Carter H. Harrison, and the estate of Celia Schmidt