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.
Commentary # 7
It was a couple of years after my trip to Charleston, S.C. I encountered my second
experience with racism. I had gone on a retreat in upstate New York with the Girl
Scouts. The retreat included many girl scouts from the New York area.
A friend and I (also African American) were sitting by a brook feeling the peacefulness of being out of the city, having the opportunity of listening to the water flowing, hearing birds singing, and trees waving from the slight breeze. Along come a couple of Caucasian girls both dressed in their Girl Scout uniforms, as were we. I said hello, but received no response. Out of one of the girl’s mouth I hear, “I don’t speak to chocolate cookies.” “What?” I said. It took me a few seconds to figure out what she was talking about, and suddenly I found myself saying, “I rather be a chocolate cookie, then a white cracker. Chocolate cookies are sweet and delicious, crackers are dry and tasteless.” I didn’t want this encounter, because my friend and I were really having a good time.
The next thing I knew we were pulling at each other’s uniform and had slipped into the edge of the brook and fell into the shallow area. We both realized that ruining your uniform was a big no-no. We were wet and disheveled, we had broken the rules of how a girl scout should behave and represent. I was angry because I knew I didn’t start it, and we had to return to the main cottage for lunch.
Entering the main cottage the other girl scouts looked at us with disgust. It was Miss Ursula who was in charge, and took the four of us to another cottage where her office and sleeping quarters were. She explained to us girl scouts didn’t call each other names or fight with each other. Girl Scouts respected and helped each other. She made us shake hands, and that was that. I don’t know if that girl changed her mind, but I certainly appreciate Miss Ursula’s speech, and I enjoyed the Girl Scouts in my neighbor, especially completing projects and getting badges for my efforts. I wasn’t about to let that girl ruin that for me.
To see all images from this blog series go to this link.
To see all images from the painting series go to this link.