The images I bring to you were inspired by John Lewis’ graphic novel series “March” (the third installment of which was just released recently accompanying its national book award), I wanted to send out some images from my new series “Over/come(ing).” This series of paintings was initially conceived in reflection about current marches and their connection to marches in the past – mostly the famous march, the march in 1965 the walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Within this work, I seek to explore the power/complexity/hopefulness of social movement (s), the most powerful of human creations, for improving the world, appropriately, I will post a part of a painting from the series each day for the month of March, which we should now think of not just as a month or as a way to mark time but also as a call to action and freedom.
When we arrived in Charleston, my Aunt Anna and myself had to take a bus to my Grandma Laura’s house on Norman Street. I sat in the front of the bus and my Aunt went to the back as “negroes” were supposed to do. Alarmed at my behavior and location, she gestured for me to come to the back, but I rebuffed her pleadings, and sat stubbornly in the front. No one told me to move, but all eyes were on me. When we reached my grandmother Laura’s house, the first thing out of my Aunt’s mouth was that I sat in the front of the bus. My grandmother spoke to me in Gullah, while smoking her pipe, and giggled. Her words I could not understand, but she seemed amused by the story. I asked my Aunt what grandma had said and she translated for me: “that one got spirit.”
I wasn’t done. On this trip, I broke many rules. I drank at “white fountains”, I sat where I wasn’t supposed too, and as a consequence I caused my Aunt a great deal of stress. The trip was quite an awakening to my young mind and a distressful one as well. I didn’t like what I saw and I didn’t like what colored people had to do. My Aunt was unsettled as well. She promised that she would never again bring me to Charleston, S.C., and that was fine with me.