Music fills this humble kitchen. The faces of its occupants show curiosity, admiration, joy, and contentment, confirming the beauty of the fiddle’s sounds. Painted immediately after the Civil War, Eastman Johnson’s Fiddling His Way explores the new freedoms and economic challenges facing emancipated African Americans. The fiddler, like Johnson, is an artist. The painter thus includes a moral lesson within this charming picture, instructing his fellow white Americans to respect the talents and humanity of all citizens.