Monday, February 5, 2018

American Illustration 36 / Charlotte, NC Public Art Project

Thanks to American Illustration—Fun with the unscrew & mix n match (put your image on the cover) edition this year. My image of an illustration element from my Charlotte NC Public Art project to be installed in 2020.

Center detail shows Biddle Hall at JCSU, founded in 1876 as an African American college by Presbyterian ministers, as post-emancipation they realized the worst scenario for former slaves would to be without an education. Above right, local civil rights activist Charles Jones testifying at the House On Un-American Activities trials. Across to his left is a Freedom Riders bus he rode to protest segregation. Heartbreaking to listen to his oral history of the vicious violence and racism that moved his family throughout The South. Lower left, church choir, local churches were separate from white control and places to organize activism.

The oral history of local resident, Marty Johnson Saunders speaks to historic Biddleville as an African American enclave, incredibly warm and open community, were all neighbors looked after each other’s children, folks shared out of their gardens (left) and doors were unlocked. A priceless interview to listen to as she speaks of her father being so respected locally that white bus drivers knew to let his daughters ride in the front of the bus during segregation, years before Rosa Parks, as she tells it. References in the piece to the Million Youth March and the unseen who have contributed to the area history.

Project notes range from hand written notes from Biddle University founding fathers from the 1800’s speaking to how “All truth and all doctrine are of no avail unless they result in goodness” to jotting down info while riding in cars hearing from locals about significant places and persons such as civil rights activist Reginald Hawkins who’s home was firebombed and who’s actions contributed to ending segregation locally.

Significant, site specific, historical and slice-of-life moments are revealed though the research & begin to take shape.

This project’s travel notebook / sketchbook & guiding star. There's one for each new project. 

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