French drawing room at Hillwood


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Black and White: The Remarkable Story of African Americans During the Soviet Experiment

An old image, featuring a group aboard the S. S. Europa.In 1932, while the Soviet Union was experiencing both mass industrialization and famine, a group of African Americans travelled to the USSR to make a film that was to be an indictment of American racism. The film was a failure, but the experiences of the group members and other Black American sojourners to the Soviet Union forged new ties between Black Americans and the Soviet Union, including the creation of a generation of Afro-Russians.

Portrait of Lloyd Patterson.This program is presented in celebration of the Portrait of Lloyd Patterson. This compelling portrait of Lloyd Patterson, who traveled to the USSR with other Black Americans to participate in the Black and White film project, is a long-term loan from Andrew Leddy, who purchased the painting from a Moscow antique shop in 1992, and will remain on view at Hillwood until 2024. Mr. Leddy will conclude this program with an overview of the history and acquisition of the Portrait of Lloyd Patterson.

Following the lecture, James Lloydovich Patterson, the son of Lloyd Patterson, will sign copies of his book Chronicle of the Left Hand: An American Black Family's Story from Slavery to Russia's Hollywood, available for purchase in the museum store.

Film Crew Europa photo credit:

Portrait of Lloyd Patterson photo is courtesy of Andrew Leddy and Hillwood.


This lecture will be presented in the theater in the Ellen MacNeille Charles Visitor Center and will be livestreamed via Zoom. Visitors can submit questions for the speaker from any location. 


5:30–6:30 p.m. | Explore Hillwood

6:30–7:30 p.m. | Lecture by Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon. Conclusion by Andrew Leddy.

7:30 p.m. | Book signing with James Lloydovich Patterson. Chronicle of the Left Hand: An American Black Family’s Story from Slavery to Russia’s Hollywood is available in the museum shop.


Headshot of Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon.Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon is a PhD Candidate in history at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research examines Soviet and East German understandings of race and Blackness. She has become subject matter expert in multiple mediums on issues of race, decolonization, and foreign policy in Russia and Ukraine. Her writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, Inkstick Media, and New Lines Magazine.

Headshot photo credit: Lauren Kesterson