I Have Given the World My Songs is one in a series of linocuts depicting the struggles, achievements, and resilience of African American women in the United States. Each image in the I Am the Black Woman series is accompanied by a phrase—and when viewed as a collection, these phrases present a narrative on the contributions of black women. This history is one the artist, Elizabeth Catlett, personally embodied, as she wrote from the first-person perspective.
I Have Given the World My Songs features an anonymous woman sitting on a bench strumming a guitar. She is surrounded by a burning cross and the violence inflicted upon African Americans, yet she is steadfast in her ability to have her voice, and the voices of oppressed people, be heard.
Catlett, a Washington, DC, native, was head of Dillard University’s art department from 1940 to 1942. Her prints and sculptures focused on the African American experience and reflected the political tensions and social changes occurring in the United States. In 1946, Catlett moved to Mexico, where she would live and work until her death in 2012. Her art is on display in museums around the world.
Citation 1: 
1947; linocut print (printed 1989)
Citation 2: 
by Elizabeth Catlett
Accession #: 
acquisition made possible by the Laussat Society, 2013.0222.5
Heather Green, Reference Assistant