The Anacostia Community Museum will be closed from January 8, 2024-March 22, 2024. We will reopen on Saturday, March 23, 2024 with our next exhibition, A Bold and Beautiful Vision: A Century of Black Arts Education in Washington, DC,1900-2000. We hope you will join us! 

Outdoor Church Service

Object Details

Roderick Turner
c. 1987
graphite on paper
13 9/16 × 17 1/16 in. (34.5 × 43.3 cm)
This work by local artist Roderick Turner was commissioned for the 1987 exhibition at the Anacostia Community Museum, “Climbing Jacob's Ladder: The Rise of Black Churches in Eastern American Cities, 1740-1877.” The drawing depicts a white preacher presiding over a segregated outdoor church service during the time of slavery in America. He stands behind a pulpit waving a book, presumably the Bible, while white and Black congregants sit on opposite sides of the aisle. Some of the Black churchgoers stand or raise their arms, contrasting with the white congregants, who remain seated and still. The drawing illustrates the early intersection of African religious traditions with Christianity, from which a modern African American Christian faith would evolve.
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