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The White Eagles/Black Indians of New Orleans

1980 Marilyn Nance Born: New York, New York 1953 gelatin silver print sheet: 15 7/8 x 19 7/8 in. (40.4 x 50.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase made possible by the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment and the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program © 1980, Marilyn Nance 1994.66.2 Not currently on view

Artwork Description

Nance’s photography is about her spiritual realization that all African Americans are connected, in some way, to one another. In White Eagles/Black Indians of New Orleans, African Americans dress in costumes influenced by the ceremonial dress of Native Americans as part of Mardi-Gras, the annual pre-Lenten celebration in New Orleans. One theory suggests that this custom began as a tribute by African Americans to Native Americans for helping runaway slaves; another suggests that it is a way of celebrating similarities between two minority cultural groups.

African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012


Ceremony - festival - New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest.

Cityscape - Louisiana - New Orleans

Dress - costume - Indian costume

Ethnic - African-American

Figure group - male

Performing arts - music

photography - photoprint


gelatin silver

About Marilyn Nance

Born: New York, New York 1953

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Marilyn Nance