Henry Ossawa Tanner was an African American artist who was the first African american to gain international attention. This painting the banjo lesson lets the viewers know that in the privacy of their own home African Americans actually do things that are productive that don't necessarily have to do with cleaning or labor work such as playing music. It also has an emotional impact on African Americans because in each of their lives they've had that one family member that taught them something they still do as an adult or did things with that to the average person would be simple and small but to them meant everything. It also shows the close relationship between a grandparent and grandchild passing the torch. The grandfather is teaching the grandson a skill that he's acquired and used as entertainment for most of his life.