I saw a brief portion on our local PBS station a news report about an exhibit in NYC of pictures from lynchings and etc from around 1880-1960. I can honestly say this is one of the most disturbing reports I’ve seen. Not that there is an exhibition on it, but the history that makes such a thing possible.
What I mean is that most of the exhibit is from postcards that people actually sent each other with snide remarks like, “here’s a picture of the barbecue we had last night”, with a picture of a charred corpse. THESE WERE HUMAN BEINGS! My god! The disrespect and utter disregard for the fact that colored (I use ‘colored’ to indicate peoples of ALL different skin types, not African-Americans, eventhough they were the greatest sufferers) peoples ARE PEOPLE.
Did anyone else see this? It was very disturbing, very frightening to see what used to happen. It gave me a much greater appreciation not only for the type of fear that AA’s must have had to endure, but also how far we’ve come (thank God!). I know we still have a ways to go, but…man, it’s really nauseating to think that justice, for the most part, just winked at stuff like this.
There was quite a bit of media coverage in the NY press when the exhibition opened (I was going to give you the name and address of the gallery, but NY CitySearch is a pain to load, and today’s Times doesn’t seem to include it in the art guide).
After seeing the photos reproduced in the papers, I had no further inclination to witness the entire exhibit. “Disturbing” is too soft a word for how I feel about this sort of thing.
I’m pleased that the show was mounted, though, from an educational standpoint. Anyone who’s not aware of the history of brutality in this country should make a point of seeing it.
Brrrrrrr…the only thing worse than the hideous violence and injustice is the self-satisfaction on the faces of the murderers…
Ike, I must agree. I think the exhibition is a good thing. Too many “white” folk have been ignorant of how bad things really were; I know I was.
Also, the satisfaction on the faces in the photographs: yes, that’s one thing the presenter pointed out-that everyone was dressed up like it was a great event. One picture showing a lynched black man in Ft. Lauderdale showed a young girl smiling at the sight with a man who is presumed to be her father in the back, with his white straw hat and white Sunday duds on.
They mentioned that the exhibit would be moving to the New York Historical Museum at some point in the near future.
My 8th grade class trip was to Washington DC. That was the year the Holocaust museum was open, and I wanted to see it. But the idea was nixed by OUR CHAPERONE (not any of the other kids) because it was “too depressing.”
Of course, this is the same woman, who upon seeing me cry at the Veitnam Veterens Memorial (my dad’s a vet, who stepped on a landmine. I suddenly realised how lucky I was to be alive…) said “I don’t know WHY we bring them here, they always get upset…”
I hate that woman. She’s still teaching 3rd and 4th graders, incidently.
Eighth grade, I don’t see the problem. Younger, I could see it.
My nine-year-old, a fourth grader, was watching that PBS series our Eve was in, CULTURE SHOCK…the first episode, about HUCKLEBERRY FINN. The photos of the weals on the slave’s back seriously bothered her (she’d been studying slavery and the Underground Railroad at school). To the point where she didn’t want to sleep in her own bed.
Her closest pal is an African-American girl, which may have something to do with her horror of that whole area of history…disbelief that people would do something like that to other people.
My great aunt has told me stories about how she and her sisters, as little girls would run along beside the Klansmen as they marched through the streets of the small MO town they grew up in. It was like a holiday, and the men in the white hoods were heroes. The police would direct traffic at the lynchings. She still refuses to acknowledge that Blacks are “normal” human beings. Thank God most people like her are in their 80s or 90s and have, by and large, failed to pass their ignorance onto the following generations.
The photography exhibit is going to be at the New-York Historical Society.
(I’m not sure how this link will work; you may have to go to the next page after it opens.) http://www.nyhistory.org/exhibits99.html