Friday, June 19, 2020

Juneteenth 2020 - Celebrating 155 Years Since the End of Slavery

From the mouths of babes we learn so many historically significant facts. Schools have been teaching youngsters about Juneteenth through children's picture books for several years. However, if you haven't been around elementary school children for a while, you may not be up on your Juneteenth traditions. This year consider sharing All Different Now: Juneteenth, The First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson, adorned by the magnificent illustrations of E.B. Lewis.  Here is a sample on Amazon, along with other suggestions for books on the holiday. You can also check out your local libraries' websites and other websites on Juneteenth for information. Hopefully, Juneteenth will be an official national holiday next year.

Juneteenth Emancipation Day Celebration, June 19, 1900, in Texas
An annual celebration in Texas sinc 1866

Juneteenth 2020 marks the 155th anniversary of the arrival of Union General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was made law on January 1, 1863. While it was believed these African Americans were the last slaves freed, evidence tells us slavery was not totally abolished in the US territories until December 1865 with the ratification of the 13th Amendment. Today, in the age of Covid-19, we can celebrate in social-distanced gatherings, such as one at St. Barnabas Church in Irvington, from 2 - 6 pm; Mount Vernon this morning on the steps of the City Hall; and Haverstraw City Hall, Rockland County, at 6 pm. Or virtually, through numerous programs online. In Greenburgh, N.Y, we have a motorcade at noon, followed by a Zoom presentation at 8 pm. The link is here.

Courtesy of the New York Public Library
Courtesy of the New York Public Library

Programs are available through the New York Public Library System throughout the day too, online.  For more information click here.

Let us rejoice in the celebration of freedom for all.
Best wishes,
Beth and the New York Arts Exchange

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange

Thursday, June 4, 2020

#BlackLivesMatter More Than Ever - May Art Enlighten Us and Inspire Engagement

George Floyd Memorial in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 
on the wall of Cup Food, site of his arrest and murder by police

We stayed home to save lives during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic (which is still active).  We left home to save lives by protesting in the streets for justice, following the murder in cold blood of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Today each of us has been called upon to save lives through our individual actions. Together, each of us can contribute to the health and welfare of our brothers and sisters, at home and around the globe. We can start by supporting the movement #BlackLivesMatter.

Black Between Painting and History

To inspire you, the New York Arts Exchange presents a virtual exhibition of street murals dedicated to the memories of African Americans who were victims of racial bias and hatred. Their fates are linked to centuries of persecution, recorded in art. In their excellent and lavishly illustrated book Noir Entre Peinture et Histoire (Black Between Painting and History) Naïl Ver-Ndoye and Grégoire Fauconnier analyze the history of black people by category, laying bare the racist tropes that persist through the ages.

Here, as a postscript to their book, we present a few murals created to honor the men and women recently murdered by police and civilians. These public images offer a place to collectively mourn, reflect and resolve to end racism. We must never forget. 

George Floyd (1974-May 25, 2020)
Mural by Eme Freethinker  in Berlin (Picture Alliance/Nurphoto/© O. Messinger)

Trayvon Martin (February 5, 1995-February 26, 2012)

Michael Brown Jr. (May 20, 1996 - August 9  2014)

Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Mural 
Courtesy of Arcadia Publishing

Eric Garner (September 15, 1970 – July 17, 2014

Eric Garner and Michael Brown Jr. Memorial 
outside Spike Lee's studio in Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

                                         Sandra Bland (February 7, 1987-July 13, 2015

Mural by Kalkidan Assefa and Allan Andre, in Ottawa, Canada

Ahmaud Arbery (May 8, 1994 - February 23, 2020)

Mural by Theo Ponchevli, in Dallas,on Friday, May 8, 2020.
The artist said that he was inspired to paint the mural after seeing the video of Arbery’s death on a news broadcast and learning that today would have been his birthday.
 Tony Gutierrez/AP

Here are other tributes on Instagram.

In peace and in solidarity, 

Beth S. Gersh-Neకić, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange