David C. Driskell, Fisk University Catalogue, November 1967

For those who thirst for a taste of genius combined with a historical perspective in art, Thomas Cornell provides this through his work as master draftsman and superb graphic artist. At the same time, he moves us into the meaning of things that we have experienced; the horrors of war, the civil rights movement, and indeed all classic struggles for justice are here reborn. The elegance and courage of Frederick Douglass is revealed as he speaks for the freedom of his people. Douglass spoke yesterday, a little more than one hundred years ago, but Cornell’s etchings make him into a valid speaker in our own time. Douglass and the revolutionary figures of France and America come alive through the dynamic use of line and form. Showing a skillful knowledge of his craft, the artist has enabled us to see significant form in traditional media reborn with contemporary meaning.