Monday, December 13, 2010

Political work of art

My public work of art was located on the front an elementary school in my neighborhood of Springfield Gardens.  The name of the school is “Thurgood Marshall P.S. 80 Talented And Gifted Magnet School.”  This school is located on 137 Street, between Guy R. Brewer Boulevard and Farmers Boulevard.   On this very same street there is a public library directly next to the school called, Queens Library.  There is also gas station not to far away.  A little further up the street there is a shopping center called Rochdale village Mall.  Rochdale village has everything you can think of for your convenience.  There is a supermarket, dry cleaners, pharmacy, bank and etc.
On this very same school building there is even a message written on a plastic poster that reads; our school community extends beyond these walls.  It takes the “entire community” to unwrap and nurture the treasures of our children.   They are all gifted and very talented.  These are just simply beautiful words of encouragement that many black children within the inner cities never get to hear.  The message is also reiterating the fact that the sole responsible of one’s success falls on everyone involved in your life.  Parents should not only expect teachers to instill the knowledge that their children so badly need.  Teachers should always take on this particular profession with the goal in mind of leaving everlasting knowledge with their students.
This particular work of art I believe is trying to convey to the children of the community and what they can aspire to be in life.   One part of the painting depicts a fashion show.  It’s just away of giving children the encouragement to become the next, Tyra Banks, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan or Barack Obama if they really put their minds to it.  Under Barack’s picture it reads “change we can believe in”.  That picture and message can mean so much to a young child.  For so many, Barack Obama does symbolize the change and how far we have come as not only African-Americans but as nation.  Now children now have proof that one day they to can be the next Black president. Black children growing up during the Civil Rights movement most likely did not entertain the idea of the possibility of themselves becoming a president, let alone living to see it happen right before their eyes one day.
One of the other paintings was of course of, Thurgood Marshall.  I’m sure the school was named after him because he also represented a first within the black community.  Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American to serve on the United States Supreme courts. Thurgood Marshall gives young black children the hope and ability to challenge themselves to not only becoming a great lawyer one day, but an honorable judge as well.  People like Thurgood Marshall have challenged the community to not limit themselves to being the next professional athlete, entertainer or comedian.    
Political works of art can come in many art forms, but what makes them unique and special is the message that they can and will portray to the people that encounter them.  My particular piece meant so much to me because as a mother I truly believe in the message that they are trying to convey to the community in which we are raising our children.   

In search of our mothers gardens

This particular piece of writing definitely made me think a little bit more deeply about what really defined art work.  Is art just music, painting and or drawing?  What comes to mind when you think about art?  Alice Walker gives you a different approach to looking at the everyday people in your life that create beautiful works of art often times, unknowingly.
             The poet Jean Toomer considers the black women of the post-reconstruction south who were so emotionally, mentally and even physically beaten down by life in general.  These woman who ended up being prostitutes as a result of having to suppress their work of arts that they so badly wanted to share with the world, but had no clue that they even embodied such great talent.  They could have been great poet, sculptures and musicians.  Sadly enough black women of the south were robbed of the ability to discover their raw talents.  It just makes you sad to think of the fact that we have been robbed as a people of knowing and seeing the work of such great artist (Walker pg. 2).
            Alice makes note of a slave named Phyllis Wheatley who was definitely a poet in her own right.  Some may have considered Phyllis ignorant in how she describes her owner as a “Goddess”.  When you think a little more deeply about Phyllis situation at that time you can really appreciate the art as she see’s it.  Phyllis Wheatley didn’t know any other way of life, so she quite naturally accepted things for what it was at that time.  What is even more impressive to me is here ability to write and express so eloquently what she saw as beauty.  I don’t know of many slaves or female slave for that matter who knew how to write in the 1700’s (Walker pg. 3).    
            Alice Walker also recognizes the art that her mom shared with her and others throughout her entire life.  Her mom would plant many types of flowers and arrange them in such a way that all you could do is stare in admiration of how well it all came together.  No one had ever let her mom know what she was creating was beautiful art.  Alice Walker came to realize that her mom embodied this great talent all along (Walker pg. 4).
            This essay came to make me realize how artistic my mom and other women in my family really are.  Thankfully my mom got to express her art form through Batik and Tie-dye.  One of her sisters eventually published a book after many years of writing.  Now I can truly say that I appreciate the work of art that they and so many others have shared with me.

Fannie Lou Hamer

During the civil rights movement, many groups of people contributed to the change for the better of African-Americans throughout the country.  These included students, political leaders, as well as everyday men and women.  The one group that has peeked my interest the most are african-american women of the movement. I would particularly like to look at the contributions of the infamous Fannie Lou Hamer (Black Heroes pg 284.).

Fannie Lou Hamer was born on October 6th, 1917, in Montgomery county Mississippi.  Mrs. Hamer unfortunately did not get the privilege to continue her education beyond six years of schooling.  This was primarily due to the fact that her parents had many children and were extremely poor as well (Black Heroes pg. 284).  In an interview, Hamer describes how hard her mother worked to keep her and her siblings presentable at all times, even when she was forced to wear rags.  Due to a work related injury, Hamers mother lost sight in both eyes, which caused her to be incapable of caring for herself.  With all that in mind, Hamer was determined to do something different (Miller pg. 2).

When Hamer got married in 1942, she and her husband would face the same hardship of poverty that she knew all too well from childhood.  Although they both worked, they both worked for very low wages.  Since Hamer worked hard at everything that she did, she would eventually be promoted to timekeeper on the plantation (Black Heroes pg. 284).
Mary tucker had been a long time friend and mother figure to fannie lou hammer.  Mary tucker first encountered the freedom ryders in 1962 and began to embrace the message that they sought to bring to the african-american community. THe freedom ryders were young college students that went around town on a bus trying to get african-americans to register to vote.  Mary tucker soon realized that this was something that she wanted to be apart of and as a result invited fannie lou hamer to a meeting that was going to be held at a local church.  At first Fannie Lou Hamer was reluctant, but she eventually decided to attend as well.
At this meeting Fannie Lou Hamer would meet two members of  prominent organizations, of the civil rights movement.  These men were  Reverand James Bevel of the Southern Christian Leadership Committee (SCLC) and James Forman of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  There messages of getting your right to vote was deeply embraced by Fannie Lou Hamer.
That day marked the beginning of Fannie Lou Hamers struggle and determination to become a citizen of the United States of America (Mills pg. 24).