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About the Object
Supper was one of George Tooker's "protest paintings." Inspired by the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the artist chose the New Testament story of the supper at Emmaus to draw attention to the Civil Rights movement.
In the biblical story, Jesus appeared as a stranger to two disciples after the Crucifixion. The disciples invited him to supper and only when Jesus blessed and broke the bread did they recognize him. In a year of great strife and bloodshed-1963 was marked by boycotts, the killing of African American civil rights activist Medgar Evers, and the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four young African American girls-Tooker chose to voice his protest by depicting an African American man as the enlightened, peace-filled Jesus in the moment preceding the revelation of his identity.