The Gordon Parks: Segregation Story really made everything I read and studied about the Jim Crow era come to life. It was like I there finally living through the eyes and the experiences black people went through. The picture that touched me the most was the one where there was a girl with her grandmother, I believe, and they where window shopping because they weren’t allowed in the store. This picture meant so much because it captured the time in which they lived in perfectly. You had a grandmother, who is experienced segregation possibly all her life, having to protect her five to six year old grand daughter from it. Then you have the manikins in the picture who have the details of the white children and they had red hair and blond hair. All this played into the environment of black people being inferior, and not being considered beautiful. It was things like this that allowed Kenneth and Maime Clark do a study that showed the little value black children saw in themselves. The picture Gordon Park took was simple but yet very complex at the same time.
The Gordon Park: Segregation Story also confirmed the childhood experiences Assata Shakur lived through. It was so real. For example, there was a piece in the exhibit called “Outside Looking In,” I believe, and in this piece a group of black children where on the outside of a fence looking in at like fair or an amusement park that only white people were allowed entry to. When Shakur was growing up down south she experienced the same thing. One Summer Assata and her grandmother would oftenly walk past an amusement park and Assata will beg and plead with her grandmother to take her in, knowing that they weren’t allowed. Of course her grandmother said no. But it wasn’t until her Assata’s mother came down south that Assata finally was granted admission into the park, and it was because her mother spoke Spanish, and gave them a story that she wasn’t from America and that she was going to tell the United Nations or the Embassy of the injustices going on in the park.
Overall, seeing the Gordon Park: Segregation Story made a lot of things come full circle for me, and it also made me appreciate learning black history so much more.
Dear people of Ghana,
As you may or may not know America is in the time where transparency has not been effective for them. So you may have seen the struggle black Americans face. I’m here to describe a part of it to you in more detail. We did not just taking bus rides, sit a lunch counters, and put ourselves in grave dangers to be able to sit and eat where we want. We did those things because there hasn’t been a time in American history that a black person life wasn’t regulated and restricted. We wanted freedom, we deserved freedom. We couldn’t vote, have quality education, have jobs, live where we wanted to, have equal pay, shop at certain stores, eat at certain restaurants or even use the restroom at a gas station. But today, I am here to show you a new way America has taken black Americans freedom through the prison industrial complex.
The prison system in America is the new Jim Crow, it is the new form of enslavement. How you may ask? The prison industrial complex is a business with overlapping interests of government and the work industry, and it use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems, and their economic, social, and political problem is black people because black people are incarcerated at least three times as much as white folk. America’s war on drugs is the reason why black people are in prison. America’s war on drugs is the reason why children grow up without their mothers and fathers. America cut the funding of social security, schools, and other basic necessities black people need to thrive in order to fund the war on drugs. This means that there are less books in our schools, less qualified teachers, and our children are made to go out and roam the streets. It also means that there is less money to give to the black people in need, restricting them to live only in poverty and which may cause our black women, children, and men to turn to selling drugs to be able to have some money to take care of their families. America also place minimal sentences on drug charges which means that there isn’t a fair trial. Our black fathers and mothers go right to prison where they are forced be a slave giving your labor in order for America still be a Superpower. America hasn’t learned from their previous actions of slavery, oppression, and discrimination. Help us stop the business of the prison industrial complex, and free our black people.
President Jimmy Carter’s ‘malaise speech’ was one of the worst speeches I have heard. He spoke from a perspective of white privilege, and a perspective where he was given the right to partake in the materialized things that consumed Amerika. Throughout his whole speech he left out minorities, specifically black people.
Let’s think about his speech from a black perspective. Yes, black people as a collective do not have the confidence in Amerika and the future of Amerika, and it is not because we worship self-indulgence. Black people can’t even partake in that privilege. It is because in the past, present, and most likely the future black people have been the people Amerika chose to systematically oppress. We went through being enslaved to our white masters to being free, and still not being able to have the rights of a free white man in the US. We went through the Jim Crow era where white people from common people, to the police, to state official, and federal officials were put above us. They were given the right to beat us, shoot us, and kill us. Currently black people go through the possibility of being imprisoned and becoming a part of the new systematic form of slavery.
So, when President Carter says that we have lost confidence in our nation, I agree, because we as black people haven’t been given anything to have in confidence in. When President Carter says that there is a growing doubt in the meaning of our lives, I agree to that too. Why? Because it is too easy for white people to have the opportunity to kill black people, to hurt black people, to accuse black people of crimes they didn’t commit, and they will get away with it. When President Carter said that there is a growing disrespect of the government, I agree. The government doesn’t respect me and my people as human beings. And he thinks energy, the most minimal issue in the grand scheme things, to unite the nation? He has to be kidding me…
Black People, it is time
to COME TOGETHER
to STAND TOGETHER.
Black People, I challenge Us
they divide Us
they conquer Us
they try to destroy Us.
Black People, it is time
to PROTECT each other.
Black People, it is time
to show them that Our Black is BEAUTIFUL.
Black People, its time
It is time to JOIN the movement, OUR MOVEMENT.
I remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream speech” very well. I was sixteen, and I remember Martin Luther King speaking well about the injustices black people went through then which are the very same injustices we go through now. Today, black men, women and children are still in exile in Amerika. Today, black men, women, and children are still not free. Today, black people are the slaves of the prison industrial complex. Today, we still deal with systematic discrimination, and we are still the target of police brutality. I remember King’s speech being very effective in producing the imagery of black peoples’ day to day lives, and he was very effective in restoring hope in the people for a brighter future. But his speech was too passive. We as black people need to come together, and fight the system. We need to come together and fight for better education for our black children that will educate them thoroughly on their history and their heritage. We need to fight the oppression and the injustices black people people live through. We can’t just dream about the day where black people will be equal to white people. We can’t just dream about equal educational opportunities, and upward social mobility. We can’t just dream and hope change will come because “one day” will become a day that will never happen. We need to go out a get what is ours, and what we desire. We need that militancy that King told the negro community to not allow it to lead us to not trust the white people. Why should we trust the white people? They are our oppressors whether they know it or not. Why should we trust white people when they compose the very government who makes it their mission to attack and destroy us? White people shouldn’t be trusted because they operate behind a system that gives them privilege and that protects only them. White people and their idea of justice is the reason I’ve spent the prime years of my life in prison, and they rest in Cuba where I cannot see my family. King had a great idea to use the white people support to our advantage; but, the truth is that if black people do not unite as a nation and fight together, and educate each other we will be in this constant system of oppression created by the white folk.
Throughout this project I learned that lighting and the way light hits someone’s face brings out the features of their face, and the lighting makes it look like there is an outline all around their face. I learned that the lighting is the reason why a face will have many shades. During this project I had to teach myself to get away from outlining my face, and focus on the different shades I saw because the range of shades bring out the features of my face. I personally learned from this project that being black or having color in your skin made this project so much harder because black people naturally have many shades in their face, and if we don’t capture all those shades correctly, the features of the face will not appear.
And teaching myself to draw what I saw and not what my mind thought something looked like was what I learned throughout the course. This theme or lesson came up in almost every project. It appeared in the chair project when I began drawing the ideal symbol of a chair, instead of taking the time to find the proportions between the leg and the seat and the arms of the chair and drawing that – what I saw. The same occurred in this project. For the first two weeks of this project I found myself drawing the ideal symbol of lips and a nose that could be found in society any and everywhere. Since I was doing that subconsciously I ran into so many problems because I wasn’t drawing what I saw. I drew what I knew. So my nose was not proportioned to my mouth and I could not progress. But I learned to break myself away from my mind and away from societal norms, and I drew me, all shades of me.
This connects to how the way we think affects the way we see. If someone’s thinking is flawed and structured into fixed images of how something is suppose to look, that will be what they “see” and that is what they will draw. It’s amazing to see how controlling out mind is that it dictates our vision. This class has taught a valuable lesson to break away from your structured mind, and from societal norms, and embrace whatever is in front of you. Don’t label it though because your mind will begin to control what you see and it will dictate how you draw it. Just be free and let go and draw the relationships you see in the object. Then you will see what you are drawing for what it is not what you think.
On October 5, 2013 a friend and I went to Flux Night at Castleberry Hill Arts District. Flux night was outdoors and it exhibited a wide range of the arts. There were dancers performing their own choreographed pieces under bright lighting. There were DJ and music. There was photography and animations projected on the walls of buildings. It was absolutely cool. There were even local musicians, rapping on a stage. There range of the arts always kept me excited and in tuned as to what was going to occur next. My favorite exhibit was Michi Meko: The job of the resurrectors is to wake up the dead. At this exhibit there was an audio playing that sounded like men working on a railroad track and they were humming a hymn. The music represented the struggle slaved went through. It was extremely moving. Then there was a black man, who looked dead, and he would start on the ground still, and when the music began to play, he would rise up, slowly, and stumble around the crowd carrying a rock, until the music ended and he died again. I understood that it was the music that kept the man alive. The music kept him pushing forward. The music ignited a fire in his soul. This exhibit reminded me of class and how all pieces of an artwork created one unifying message. In all the projects we did, each piece we incorporated helped further a message either the artist of the professor wanted to send. The same thing occurred here when the music and the acting of the man really came together and created such a moving message. Flux Night was awesome, and I cannot wait to go again next year.