Fort Huachuca, in Sierra Vista, is the surprising site of a remarkable story of African American art during World War II. Central to the chronicle is Arizona painter Lew Davis. The base was home to two black divisions, and Davis painted murals for the two segregated officers’ clubs. For the black officers’ club Davis produced something stunningly original: The Negro in America’s Wars, representing African American participation in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and World War I. Davis then produced a series of morale-building posters with, African American faces. Finally, Davis helped organized an exhibition of eighty-six works by thirty-seven African American artists.
Betsy Fahlman is Professor of Art History at Arizona State University. An authority on the art history of Arizona, her books include New Deal Art in Arizona (2009) and The Cowboy’s Dream: The Mythic Life and Art of Lon Megargee (2002). She is the author of two essays in catalogues published in 2012 by the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff: “New Women, Southwest Culture: Arizona’s Early Art Community” (in Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton: Artist and Advocate in Early Arizona) and “Making the Cultural Desert Bloom: Arizona’s Early Women Artists” (in Arizona’s Pioneering Women Artists: Impressions of the Grand Canyon State).