Parade on Hammond Street, executed from memory in June 1935, was inspired by a parade the artist witnessed near his residence in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Painted in predominantly warm, vibrant colors, this urban genre scene focuses on the neighborhood’s extensive African-American community, with residents dressed in their best attire gathered to watch a festive, locally organized parade before Sunday church services. It is characteristic of Crite’s early work in its documentary emphasis, fine detail, and celebratory tone. Crite painstakingly reconstructed the settings of his works to ground them in reality and make the images accessible to the viewer. The neighborhood shown here has been dramatically altered by urban renewal, so his meticulous rendition of the brick buildings documents the place as well as the event.
Even though he was aware of modernism, Crite chose to use a representational style because it was more natural to him. Crite once said, “I’m a storyteller, telling a story of people,” he claimed, “and I started out with my own people in the immediate sense, like the neighborhood, and people in a general sense when I make a neighborhood out of the whole world.”