Tag Archives: Gastonia

(God’s House) by John Biggers


This is a painting by Gastonia, North Carolina, native, John Biggers, 1924-2001. It is owned by the Smithsonian and is called, Third Ward Shotgun. It was painted in 1966 with tempera and oil. Shotgun houses are considered an African American form of vernacular architecture. They acquired this name because, supposedly, a shotgun blast fired through the front door would pass straight through the house and out the back. John Biggers instead, suggests that the name is a corruption of the word shogon, a Yoruba term from West Africa that means “God’s House.”

Black Artist John Biggers, The Smithsonian

Shotgun Third Ward by John Biggers, 1966

This piece I find just incredibly timeless. I have been living on Edisto Island, South Carolina for two years, and this scene is still one that is recognizable ‘pon top. African American families that have continuously lived on Edisto Island since Recontruction keep strong family connections to this day.