Make Me a Miracle

The killer app of the North American way of racism is the treatment of the bodies of African Americans and of Africans by the majority White culture.  

 

Degraded, defiled, debased, demeaned, often destroyed or devastated.  Held to be ugly, lazy, incompetent and reduced, historically, to less than fully human. 

 

Generations of African American women have given birth in maximum insecurity.  Given birth and been expected to go on going on. 

 

One long revolting history of the inhumanity of a civilization to its own people.  

 

 

No life without a body.  I am not saying anything new anywhere here.

 

 

The sustaining force of our lives is our spiritual life. 

 

 

Our bodies track the trajectory of our spiritual lives and record and reflect the stages of our spiritual evolution. 

The proof  lies with the shamans.  Do they need Voltaire? The Vedic Scriptures? 

 

 

That African Americans have evolved an advanced spiritual community – whether Christian or Moslem or adapted from the Yoruba religious tradition – 

 

 

in the context of repeated attempts to reduce and degrade them and control them by mocking and degrading their bodies

 

 

is a testimony of the power of this people’s spirit. 

 

Nor can the expressive use of body movement and presentation – in church, in walking, when dancing, when singing,

 

 

 

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Michael Jackson performing, unknown date. Web image

 

 

 

when talking,  when grieving, when creating music, in clothing, in hairstyle and jewellery – be disconnected from this power and this survival and flourishing among this people.

 

 

The power of the spirit of all people, techniques varying perhaps,  against whom genocide, by any other name, has been attempted; and who yet persist and rise up to thrive.

 

 

 

 

 

________________________ 

 

 

 

 

Conjecture on the Stained Glass Image of White Christ at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 2016* 

 

 Marcus Wicker, American born 1984; from his book of poetry:  Maybe The Saddest Thing, 2012 and 2016

 

 

For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
—1 Corinthians 12:13

 

 

 

 

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8 am Cadiz, oil on linen, 2017, and details above and below. 

Lynette Yiadom Boakye, British born 1977.  Baltimore Museum of Art 

The artist’s statement about this work is that this is not a portrait.  It is not about being black. 

 It is about being a human being in this dark grass. But, she says, it felt perfectly natural to her to place a black man here.  As if an artist has to explain herself.

 

 

 

 

If in his image made am I, then make me a miracle.

 

 

 

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Make my shrine a copper faucet leaking everlasting Evian to the masses.

 

 

 

 

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Make this empty water glass a goblet of long-legged French wine.

 

 

 

 

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Make mine a Prince-purple body bag designed by Crown Royal

 

 

 

 

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Black Girl’s Window, 1963, wooden window frame with painted pasted papers, lenticular print, framed photograph and plastic figurine. 

Betye Saar, born 1926, American.  MOMA, New York

 

 

 

 

for tax collectors to spill over & tithe into just before I rise.

 

 

 

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Anticipation, 1961, screenprint. 

Betye Saar, American born 1926.  MOMA, NY

 

 

 

If in his image made am I, then make my vessel a pearl Coupe de Ville.

 

 

 

 

Self-Portrait as a Nice White Lady, 1995. Adrian Piper, American born 1948.

 

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I Am Some Body, the Body of My Friends, #1-18, 1992-95,

Adrian Piper, American born 1948.

One of 18 photographs: this one with the artist’s mother when she, suffering from emphysema, was towards the end of her life.

Loaned to MOMA by The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York for a retrospective, 1965-2016, of the artist’s work. 

 

Of mixed race and comfortable background, the artist, unlike at least one member of her family, did not ‘pass for white’.  She took up her African-American heritage.  She became an activist based in her home town, NY.

With a PhD. in philosophy, she taught at American universities of the first rank. 

She continues to make conceptual art.  In 2005 she left for Berlin where she settled permanently in 2006.   

She said that she had fled with her life. 

She has left her body to MOMA, NY

 

 

 

Make mine the body of a 28-year-old black woman

 

 

 

 

 

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African/American, 1998, linoleum cut on Rives BFK paper, printer’s proof #1 of 2. 

Kara Walker, American born 1969. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.

 

 

 

in a blue patterned maxi dress cruising through Hell on Earth, TX**

 

 

 

 

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Woman in Interior, 2008, twenty-two colour lithograph and serigraph with collage. 

David Driskell, American born 1931.  Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia

 

 

 

again alive. ** If in his image made are we, then why

 

 

 

(The Racism of Everyday Life)

Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute,

Stasi Schroeder on the left with 2.1 million Twitter followers, apologized to Faith Stowes below.  Kristen Doute is on the right.  Both actors.

 

BBC website on June 11, 2020

 

Faith Stowers

Faith Stowes, actor, BBC website in an undated photo.

 

from the BBC website on June 11, 2020:

 Stowers said that Schroeder and Doute misled police in an attempt to get her into legal trouble in 2018.

She said the pair had reported her for a spate of thefts allegedly committed by another black woman they had seen pictured in a newspaper report.

“There was this article on Daily Mail where there was an African-American lady,” Stowers explained.

“And they called the cops and said it was me. This is like, a true story. I heard this actually from Stassi during an interview…..”

All 3 were actors in the reality tv show, Vanderpump Rules, which has been running since 2013, is a spin-off from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills series. 

Stasi Shroeder and Kristen Doute were fired from the show.  Stasi Shroeder, who wrote other dazzling race-blind posts, has issued a full-hearted apology. 

The two women thought that to threaten the livelihood of a Black woman was a prank.

 

 

 

the endless string of effigies?

 

 

 

 

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Strange Fruit, 1995, tin alloy, wood, dirt, found objects, rope.  Alison Saar, American born 1956.  Baltimore Museum of Art

 

 

 

Why so many mortal blasphemes?

 

 

 

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Portrait of James Baldwin, 1945, oil on canvas.  Beauford Delaney, 1901-1979, American active Paris. 

Philadelphia Art Museum

 

 

 

Why crucify me in HD across a scrolling news ticker, tied

 

 

 

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Shine, 2017, inkjet print on San Gabriet Baryta fine art paper.

  Cheryl Trace, American born 1965.  Exhibited at the 2018 Juried Art Show at the Woodmere Museum of Art, Philadelphia, in 2018

 

 

 

 

to a clothesline of broken necks long as Time?

 

 

 

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Love Letter III, 1977, lithograph.   

Charles White, 1918-1989, American.  Art Institute of Chicago loaned to a MOMA, NY retrospective in 2018 

 

Not long before his death, the artist began to depict natural forms.

 

 

 

 

Is this thing on? Jesus on the ground. Jesus in the margins.

 

 

 

 

 

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People at the very large annual Odunde Festival, Philadelphia in  2018.

  The festival occurs in June and is an adaptation of Yoruba religion and devotion to the orisha, Oshun, a power of the divine feminine, of rivers, divination and fertility.

 

 

 

 

Of hurricane & sea. Jesus of busted levees in chocolate cities.***

 

 

 

 

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People at the very large annual Odunde Festival, Philadelphia in 2018.

  The festival occurs in June and is an adaptation of Yoruba religion and devotion to the orisha, Oshun.

 

 

 

Jesus of the Middle East (Africa) & crows flying backwards.

 

 

 

 

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Bernice, painted plaster, 1981. 

John Ahearn, American born 1951.  Exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2018

 

 

 

Of blood, on the leaves,**** inside diamond mines, in under-

 

 

 

 

 

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Mr. Hilton Taylor, 1962, watercolour on paper.  George A. Weymouth,   American.   On display at the Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania in 2018.

 

Mr. Taylor worked as a butler for Weymouth’s godfather and cousin, Bayard Sharp.

 

 

 

 

developed mineral-rich countries. If in your image made are we,

 

 

 

 

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Scenes from The Ride, 2014. Black, white silver prints on auto body parts and colour and black and white sublimation on aluminum plate.

 

  Mohammed Bourouissa, French Algerian born 1978.  On display at the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia in 2018.  The Ride is part of monumental sculptures created by the artist beginning in 2014. 

This work was done in Philadelphia with the Fletcher Street Urban  Riding club. 

The Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club in Philadelphia is a century-old group that has been the subject of several documentaries. 

 

 

the proliferation of your tie-dyed hippie doppelgänger

 

 

 

The Compton Cowboys Peace Ride was organized as a show of solidarity for the city’s black community.

The Compton Cowboys (Compton, California) Peace Ride was organized as a show of solidarity for the city’s black community. Photo from the NYT of June 9, 2020

 

 

makes you easier to daily see. & in this image didn’t we make

 

 

 

 

The Compton Cowboys (Compton, California) Peace Ride was organized as a show of solidarity for the city’s black community. Photo from the NYT of June 9, 2020

 

 

the godhead, slightly stony, high enough to surf a cloud?

 

 

 

 

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Head of a male, n.d., etching. 

Charles White, 1918-1989, American.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

& didn’t we leave you there, where, surely, paradise or

 

 

 

 

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Portrait of My Grandmother (Emily Motley), oil on canvass, 1922.

Archibald John Motley, Jr. , 1891-1981, American.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

 

 

 

justice must be meted out? Couldn’t we see where water takes

 

 

 

 

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Refugee, 2016, oil on canvas. Oscar Page, Jr. American born 1943.

  Exhibited at the Juried Show at the Woodmere Museum of Art, Philadelphia in 2016.

 

 

 

the form of whatever most holds it upright? If then this

 

 

 

 

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Mustard Race Riot, 1963, silkscreen ink, acrylic, and graphite on canvas, two panels, and detail. 

Andy Warhol,1928-1987. Private collection on loan to the Whitney Museum in 2018/19.

 

This is a re-contextualized, cropped and blurred reproduction of a famous painting by Charles White of an attack by Birmingham, Alabama police on a civil rights demonstration.  White’s photo and essay appeared in Life in May, 1963.

  A work in Warhol’s Death and Disaster series.

 

 

 

 

is what it’s come down to. My faith, in rifle shells.

 

 

 

 

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January 8, 2011, oil on wood. Anne Minich, American born 1934.  Courtesy of the artist to the 76th Woodmere Juried Exhibition in 2017. 

A response to the Tucson shooting which injured Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and killed or injured 18 others.  

 

 

 

In Glock 22 magazine sleeves. Isn’t it also then how, why,

 

 

 

 

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The Times Thay Ain’t A Changing Fast Enough !! 2017. 

Charles Taylor, American born 1958.  Whitney Biennial of North American art in 2017

 

 

 

in a bucket shot full of holes, I’ve been made to believe?

 

 

 

 

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Sound of Silence, 1978, lithograph.   Art Institute of Chicago on loan to a MOMA, NY retrospective in 2018

 

A representation, just before his premature death, of the strength, fragility and beauty of the life of an artist, born to multiple disadvantages, who went forward to live his life-enhancing life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*  The church in Atlanta, GA where Martin Luther King was baptized and where he and his father were pastors.

**Sandra Bland died on July 13, 2015 in a police cell in Hempstead, Texas.  She had been placed there after being stopped for a minor traffic infringement.  She was wearing a long blue dress. 

Her death was ruled a suicide by hanging.

The policeman was indicted for perjury and then fired after having first been found innocent of any violation.

 

*** Busted levees: the levees of New Orleans which failed because of faulty engineering during Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

People, many African-Americans were left to die.  In Louisiana, 1577 died of this disaster directly.  The indirect toll is not known. 135 people remain unaccounted for.

“We are also Americans,” a black woman said on television.

 

****Blood on the leaves and blood at the root is from the poem and song, Strange Fruit, written by Abel Meeropol in 1937.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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