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APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine Program Recognizes Black History Month – “African Americans and the Arts”

Posted by Tess Acosta-Williams, PPQ Civil Rights and Diversity Advisory Committee Chair, Trade Specialist, USDA APHIS PPQ in Equity Plants
Feb 14, 2024
“Apples on the Ground” by Charles Porter

The 2024 Black History Month theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” intersects with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Program’s dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility as we celebrate African Americans’ artistic contributions.

This month PPQ highlights artists who depicted agriculture and farming, which aligns with the work we do at APHIS PPQ. Renowned artists like Charles Ethan Porter, known for his realistic paintings of fruits and vegetables, and Clementine Hunter, who depicted Southern farm life in her vibrant paintings, exemplify the unique intersection of African American art and agriculture. Their works enrich American culture and mirror the diverse experiences and perspectives that are integral to APHIS PPQ's mission of protecting American Agriculture and natural resources.

At APHIS PPQ, the celebration of African American art runs parallel to the acknowledgment of the diverse backgrounds and innovative approaches of its African American employees. PPQ is committed to fostering an inclusive environment, where diversity is acknowledged and recognized as crucial for success. This commitment extends beyond race and ethnicity and embraces all aspects of identity and experience. This allows our workforce to be reflective of the American stakeholders we support, and ready to face the multifaceted challenges of protecting U.S. agriculture.

The integration of art and agriculture is particularly poignant. Artistic expressions that reflect and celebrate agricultural heritage, showcase deep connections between the land and cultural identity. These artistic perspectives provide invaluable insights that can inform and even inspire APHIS PPQ’s work.

This year’s theme underscores the importance of creating spaces where different perspectives are welcomed and recognized as essential to the agency's mission. This approach enhances the agency's work and contributes to a more inclusive, equitable society, highlighting the profound impact of diversity in both the arts and agriculture.

For more information about Clementine Hunter and Charles Ethan Porter and see their work, visit the following websites:

Clementine Hunter | Artist Profile | NMWA

Charles Ethan Porter | Smithsonian American Art Museum (

Category/Topic: Equity Plants