Size: 30 x 45 inches
In 1912, James Oppenheim commemorated the struggle of striking textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts with a poem inspired by a banner carried by young women mill hands. The banner read, "We want bread and roses, too," affirming the biblical adage, "Man does not live by bread alone." Set to music by Mimi Farina and recorded by Judy Collins, the poem found new meaning in the 70s. The theme was adopted by New York's District 1199 of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees for an unprecedented two-year project celebrating the arts and humanities that remains an annual event. With more than 70% of the district membership's being black or Hispanic, and almost 85% women, Davis chose an unidentified beautiful young black woman as his model. His painting of her, garlanded with wheat stalks and roses, became an icon of the period.