Charles White is an acclaimed painter and muralist whose experience with the Works Progress Administration public projects enforced his desire to use art as a tool to educate about and promote African American contributions to culture and politics. His portraits are known for their representations of human dignity and the strength of working class communities. White is also renowned for his impeccable draftsmanship. His pencil renderings of the abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth served as preliminary drawings for a larger tableau. With soft gentle marks, White captured the likeness and character of these iconic and historically significant subjects, the faces of whom can be seen in White?s 1939-40 monumental work Five Great American Negroes.