On View
Visual Arts Gallery
Reckoning: Protest. Defiance. Resilience.
Created by
Thomas, Lava, American, born 1958
Subject of
Adair, Euretta F., American, 1905 - 1990
Conté crayon and graphite on paper
H x W (Paper): 47 × 33 1/4 in. (119.4 × 84.5 cm)
H x W x D (Frame): 48 1/4 × 34 1/2 × 2 in. (122.6 × 87.6 × 5.1 cm)
Euretta F. Adair was one of over 80 African American activists who were arrested for planning and participating in the Montgomery Bus Boycott between 1955 and 1956. Adair served on the executive board of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), founded in 1955 by Black ministers and community leaders four days after the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to vacate her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery city bus. The organization’s mission was to oversee the boycott, improve race relations, and uplift the general tenor of the community.
Lava Thomas’s drawing of Adair is one of 12 portraits in her series, Mugshot Portraits: Women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Drawn from actual mugshots of female activists, these portraits highlight the commitment and bravery of the unsung women of the movement, whose sacrifices ensured today’s freedoms.
A Conté crayon and graphite drawn portrait of a woman, Euretta F. Adair, based on the mug shot taken after her arrest on February 21, 1956 for her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In the portrait, Adair appears from the waist up, holding a number card reading "7070" up in front of her at chest height. She wears a dark V-neck blouse under a grey cardigan jacket with striped edging at the hem and cuffs. She also has round earrings, cat's eye style glasses, a wedding ring, and a short-brimmed hat with a ribbon or ornament on the left side rests on the back of her head. She gazes directly at the viewer.
Place depicted
Mongtomery, Montgomery County, Alabama, United States, North and Central America
Mugshot Portraits: Women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Visual Arts
Civil Rights Movement
Civil rights
U.S. History, 1953-1961
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Cheryl and Charles Ward
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
© Lava Thomas
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.

Cataloging is an ongoing process and we may update this record as we conduct additional research and review. If you have more information about this object, please contact us at NMAAHCDigiTeam@si.edu

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