Lew Davis (1910-1979) “the Dean of Arizona artists”, is known for being a talented easel painter whose imagery predominantly depicts Arizona copper miners and brilliantly colorful horses and landscapes. Few people realize, however, that he also created five major murals during a four-year span from 1940-1944. The two initial ones, Early Spanish Caballeros (1940) and Cattle Days (1942), were commissioned by the U.S Post Office for Los Banos, California, and Marlow, Oklahoma, respectively. Davis then executed three murals for Fort Huachuca, Arizona, The Founding of Fort Huachuca (1943), The Surrender of Geronimo (1943) and The Negro in America’s War (1944). In an act of artistic bravery, Lew Davis, a White artist in service of the Army, chronicled the significant contributions of an important minority to America’s military history. In The Negro in America’s Wars, Davis created a unique and remarkable monument to the Black soldier, his accomplishments and his sacrifices, that will be an inspiration and a source of pride for years to come.
Excerpt from the Essay:
Lew Davis “The Negro in America’s Wars” and Other Major Paintings
By Carolyn C. Robbins
Additional Audio: Lew Davis Mural Details
Additional Audio: Lew Davis Posters
The Negro in America’s Wars, 1944, Permanent Collection, Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; photo by Jarvis Grant
Courtesy of the Arizona Historical Society at Papago Park