I am extremely hesitant to post this piece because, as an artwork, it is so inadequate. Because it is symbolic of a black man I admire, and because he is on a pedestal, it seems strangely appropriate for our times.
There are protests in the streets and slave-owner statues are coming down, as they should. My ancestors had plantations and “owned” slaves. How can one ever apologize for that?
I was teaching three-dimensional design and doing assemblages using doll houses as an environment for my creations. A lovely black woman in my class volunteered to donate her children’s old doll house to my collection. To my surprise, the dollhouse also held a few of her children’s old dolls, which were dolls of color. When my book group was reading about Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court justice, I assembled this, using her doll as a stand-in for Mr. Marshall. I sincerely hope there is nothing offensive about that. I put him on a pedestal. The real man deserves his own statue, on a pedestal.
I am a southern white woman. My father grew up in Mississippi. As a child, I was taught to respect all people, regardless of race or background. However, I grew up in a society of kind and generous Christian white people who were blind to their “equal, but separate” mantra in regards to the “colored” community. Black schools were not adequately funded. Decent wages, fairness in housing, and loan availability did not exist. In other words, there was no “Equal”.
We are in a time of Pandemic and Uprisings, of incredible political division. It is our responsibility to embrace social and economic changes for the Black community, for immigrants, for all who are treated unfairly. It is time to salvage the rule of law, and fight for all those values for which our country should stand.