Remembering: The Civil Rights Era

Last week I began reviewing a book, The Gift of Art, by Gene Edward Veith, Jr. (1983), and next week I want to come back to that subject, but for this week current events are taking precedent.

This past week our nation paused to remember the great civil rights leader, Doctor Martin Luther King, and the million-man march on Washington DC. I was a young woman during that era and all the press coverage this week prompted some nostalgic, reminiscing and soul searching on my part.

I was aware of and deeply concerned about the events of those days. As a mother of little sandy haired kiddos that played happily in the neighborhood of our racially mixed military base, I wondered what the future would hold for them. This painting is an expression of the future that I, perhaps prophetically, envisioned.
Image 24

To help you orient to the painting, you are looking down on the top of two little boys riding their tricycles up the sidewalk. One of them is black and the other is white. While the sidewalk ahead of them narrows, as perspective would require, it does so in a rather exaggerated way symbolizing their joined destiny. I allowed, actually I encourage, the brown paint in the upper portion of the painting to drip down over the road to suggest that there were dark forces that would come against the two little friends, and I intentionally kept the texture on the sidewalk rough and unfinished to suggest that the road ahead would not be easy.

For all the progress that the last fifty years have brought about, it grieves me deeply that the dark forces seem to be more determined than ever to drive a wedge between people of love and good will as they attempt to find a unified path.

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