Black Men: Fathers, Brothers and Sons
Exhibition by African Americans for the Arts (AAFTA)
September 24 through November 18
Open Tuesdays & Thursdays from 4 PM to 6 PM
Please wear a mask and respect distancing guidelines while visiting the Callanwolde Gallery.
This gallery is free and open to the public.
Throughout American history, the Black man has been prized for his strength, his ability to work “from can’t see to can’t see”, his skills as architect and craftsman, carpenter and laborer, both on plantations and in cities. His has been willing, even eager, to lay down his life in every American war, for a country that barely acknowledges his humanity.
Yet, throughout American history, the Black man has been feared and reviled as a savage – as a sub-human. He has been forced to labor for scraps, to watch his children be sold away. Even after his so called emancipation, his economic slavery has been continued through share-crop farming and prison labor. He is the last hired and the first fired. He has been denied the right to vote, denied the ability to determine his own destiny through entrepreneurship. He has been killed at the hands of individuals, mobs and systemic racism. He has been tortured, hung from trees, represented as watermelon eating eye rolling buffoons and defined as a sexual predator – an object to be both lusted after and feared. His homes, churches and businesses have been bombed and burned to the ground by his fellow ‘citizens’ without repercussion. Promises have been made by those seeking office only to have those promises ignored once the office was attained. He has been baited, harassed and jailed for just standing on the street minding his own business – much less whistling at someone.
The Black man has marched, sat-in, boycotted, fought for, petitioned and protested his ‘condition’ to the highest authorities in the land for over 400 years, only to find that here, in 2020, his very life can be taken from him while the world watches without any consequences – with no expectation of justice.
Yet he has persevered.
This exhibition is dedicated to and will highlight the Black men who, even though they are, in fact, victims of America’s “hidden little secret”, have survived the martyrdom of Martin, Malcolm, George, Ahmaud, Philando, Freddie and countless others. The Black men depicted here represent the fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, nephews, cousins, friends and lovers who have protected their families and participated in the education of their children – who tuck their babies in at night. These Black men honor and respect their mothers and wives and are examples for their daughters and sons. These are not only the ‘educated’ Black men – the doctors, lawyers, teachers, businessmen and artists. They are soldiers, janitors, postmen, plumbers, truckers, delivery men, sanitation personnel and other ‘essential workers’ who place their lives on the line everyday to serve our community, in tranquil and in troubled times.