Mills Professor and Artist Completes Quest to Draw 1001 Black Men

Oakland, CA—November 7, 2017

1001 Black Men PortraitOver the course of the past six years, Mills College English Professor and Artist Ajuan Mance has been creating a series of portraits called 1001 Black Men. Drawing a portrait about every other day, Mance completed the project this year.

In a recent SF Gate article, the artist noted that drawing the 1,001 black men helped her look beyond her own personal experience of blackness and enabled her to "see the complexity of lives that had less privilege than where I grew up."

"I was really focused on black people whose images you never see in mainstream media," said Mance. "I drew a lot of black nerds. Older black males and black men in business attire, too.”

Mance is currently working on a documentary called "Bay Area Heart and Soul," featuring a "snapshot of black community in this moment of rapid growth and displacement." A 1001 Black Men book is also in the works. 

Mance has been teaching at Mills College since 1999. Her areas of interest include African American literature, 19th-century American literature, US popular culture, the oral tradition in US literature, black feminist thought and African American art.