Lifesize quilt depicting lynching is on display at our library -- your thoughts?

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Posted 1/28/2013 by kryssy in NSBR Board
 

kryssy
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:24:53 PM
Here's the news story:

link

My first thought, as a creative person, is that art shouldn't be censored, this is an important, horrific part of our history that shouldn't be forgotten, etc...

Then I saw the quilt. And it's quite jarring, as I'm sure it's meant to be. And my second thought is that a public library is not a good place to display it. I try not to overly shield my kids from the world... but that quilt will absolutely give some kids nightmares.

I think it should be displayed in a museum, where parents can choose whether or not their children are old enough to view and discuss it.

Your thoughts?


Kryssy


I behold you riding with my love throughout the town,
And I bite my thumb at you.
Methinks the ducats in my purse are sorely lacking,
And I bite my thumb at you
And at her, too.
Were I but richer, I would be her suitor
Is this not a patent fact?
Though it pains me to the quick, I will salute her still
The aforementioned way: I bite my thumb.

Captain K
AncestralPea

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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:27:16 PM
I agree with you. I also find it sad that the race of the people reacting to it had to be included. But I do tend to agree, if it was only white people that didn't like it, people would say they were racist, revisionist, whatever. So I think it was smart of the writer to make the first response from a black veteran.

I think the artist that says "we must begin" to address the history of racism and lynching is someone who will never ever be satisfied with how it is addressed and will never let the country move forward. I believe lynching has been addressed and is broadly seen as a dark part of our history. The fact that she thinks it hasn't even begun to be addressed tells me some things.

crimsoncat05
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:39:38 PM
My thought is, where better to educate people about history than at a library? The story says that there are library employees around, if you have questions about it, or about the scene depicted, so you could ask for info about the context and meaning. I think that's a good thing. And it's not like it's in the kid's department of the library.

Art is meant to cause a reaction, good or bad, and to make you think. This quilt does that.




"Accepting anything without question is the antithesis of critical thinking and education. ~wren*walk, 8/20/12"


rosiekat
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:00:17 PM
I have no problem with displaying it, and I have small children. Yes, I saw the picture of the quilt.

Art is not always the pretty stuff, and I'd rather my kids ask questions about things when I'm there, or when we can look up answers to their questions.

I also think that the medium of quilting is actually a good choice for the Black History Month, because quilting itself is an integral part of US black history.



Jen


Darkangel090260
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:08:11 PM
I think it is a great ideal and will be showing it to my three when they get home. I will also have the oldest two do up a report on it. I find it a great way to open up the topic of lynching. It is a nasty part of our history. It will also open up so much more including civil rights talk with in our home . The quilt is about education and the library is for education. Use this as a way to open talk with your children.


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justalittletike
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:14:29 PM
I think it is what it is and we did that.

Edit: I will say I don't think it belongs in a public library where tiny children are. I don't care who's past it belongs to, no child needs to learn about that or see images like that until they are able to process and understand it. I can't explain that to a 2 year old regardless his race. I do think he needs to learn that as well but not at his age.


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kryssy
ShakesPEArean Pea

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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:35:12 PM
Hmmm... now I'm reevaluating my first thought. Thanks for the input!

I do agree that art is thought-provoking, and this is absolutely an educational moment. My only question was the venue, and the fact that parents ultimately have no control over whether their child views it...

I'm trying to think of a similar situation, where a controversial piece of art was on public display instead of in a museum or on private property -- can anyone think of one, and what the outcome was for that?


Kryssy


I behold you riding with my love throughout the town,
And I bite my thumb at you.
Methinks the ducats in my purse are sorely lacking,
And I bite my thumb at you
And at her, too.
Were I but richer, I would be her suitor
Is this not a patent fact?
Though it pains me to the quick, I will salute her still
The aforementioned way: I bite my thumb.

WannaPea
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Posted: 1/28/2013 3:04:02 PM
I find this in the same vein as art or even literature regarding The Holocaust. I think it's important. I think various mediums are totally acceptable, though not always appropriate for children. **ETA** I agree with you that it doesn't seem quite right to just walk in and you see it, without any warning.

In contrast, it's horrifying to know that children were often witness to such horrors wile dressed in their Sunday best, sitting atop their father's shoulders, with smiles on their faces. Talk about a jarring image.


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Peabay
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Posted: 1/28/2013 3:23:10 PM
It's truth, it's history - and not ancient history either.

My 10 year old is studying civil rights right now and I'd be okay with her seeing that. I don't have a problem with its display. I think it's important.



cropduster
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Posted: 1/28/2013 3:46:45 PM
This was my reaction at seeing the picture of the quilt. It definitely gets your attention and is thought provoking. With that said, I'm really hoping that the library used some restraint and is showing it in an area where it is away from small children. Or that they have signage warning parents/caregivers that there is art t hat has graphic content.


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redayh
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Posted: 1/28/2013 4:11:42 PM
Everyone wants to sweep ugly history under the rug. It happened a lot and this quilt represents it. Okay. I really think they would be shocked if the quilt depicted one of the child lynchings. Those happened too. Or what about George Stinney the 14 year old black boy that got the chair. Look him up. History is ugly and art that depicts it is often the same.
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kryssy
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Posted: 1/28/2013 4:49:31 PM

With that said, I'm really hoping that the library used some restraint and is showing it in an area where it is away from small children.


I believe it's displayed right as you come out of the third floor elevator, so anyone can see it.


Kryssy


I behold you riding with my love throughout the town,
And I bite my thumb at you.
Methinks the ducats in my purse are sorely lacking,
And I bite my thumb at you
And at her, too.
Were I but richer, I would be her suitor
Is this not a patent fact?
Though it pains me to the quick, I will salute her still
The aforementioned way: I bite my thumb.

gar
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Posted: 1/28/2013 4:52:43 PM

My thought is, where better to educate people about history than at a library? The story says that there are library employees around, if you have questions about it, or about the scene depicted, so you could ask for info about the context and meaning. I think that's a good thing. And it's not like it's in the kid's department of the library.

Art is meant to cause a reaction, good or bad, and to make you think. This quilt does that.



Agreed.



Today, I will be colouring outside the lines.


kryssy
ShakesPEArean Pea

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Posted: 1/28/2013 4:59:46 PM

My 10 year old is studying civil rights right now and I'd be okay with her seeing that. I don't have a problem with its display. I think it's important.


And I'd be okay with my 10-yr-old seeing it as well. It would spark honest and open discussion.

But what about a 7-yr-old? Or a 5-yr-old? What if it was a photo of the emaciated bodies stacked up outside the ovens during the Holocaust...? I'm just trying to think if there's ever a line that is drawn when it comes to public displays of art...

Just wondering out loud.


Kryssy


I behold you riding with my love throughout the town,
And I bite my thumb at you.
Methinks the ducats in my purse are sorely lacking,
And I bite my thumb at you
And at her, too.
Were I but richer, I would be her suitor
Is this not a patent fact?
Though it pains me to the quick, I will salute her still
The aforementioned way: I bite my thumb.

melanell
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Posted: 1/28/2013 5:59:43 PM

I have no problem with displaying it, and I have small children. Yes, I saw the picture of the quilt.



I agree.



hop2
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Posted: 1/28/2013 6:06:58 PM
The quilt is not nearly as disturbing as some of the comments following the article.

lucyg819
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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:16:51 PM

I think the artist that says "we must begin" to address the history of racism and lynching is someone who will never ever be satisfied with how it is addressed and will never let the country move forward. I believe lynching has been addressed and is broadly seen as a dark part of our history. The fact that she thinks it hasn't even begun to be addressed tells me some things.

And that right there is why we are NOT done talking about slavery and racism and racial violence in this country.

Believe it or not, it isn't up to you or me to decide when we've acceptably addressed the subject.


LUCYG
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Sue_Pea
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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:24:47 PM
I think that it is important, but I don't like the idea of very small children seeing it.


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Captain K
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:00:18 PM


Believe it or not, it isn't up to you or me to decide when we've acceptably addressed the subject.






Who is it up to?

kryssy
ShakesPEArean Pea

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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:06:26 PM

I think what she is doing is so very important. I'm not sure, though, how I feel about the public display where children can see it. I would go to a place where it was being displayed and make sure that my children saw it and that we talked about it. BUT, I would not want them to just go for a day at the library and stumble upon it without warning. It's something I'd want to prepare them for and be there at their side to discuss with them. I know it would be upsetting to them and invite questions. I welcome those questions, but I'd want control over the setting and circumstances under which the conversation was provoked.


This is exactly what I was trying to say.


Kryssy


I behold you riding with my love throughout the town,
And I bite my thumb at you.
Methinks the ducats in my purse are sorely lacking,
And I bite my thumb at you
And at her, too.
Were I but richer, I would be her suitor
Is this not a patent fact?
Though it pains me to the quick, I will salute her still
The aforementioned way: I bite my thumb.

Velouria
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:14:21 PM

I'm trying to think of a similar situation, where a controversial piece of art was on public display instead of in a museum or on private property -- can anyone think of one, and what the outcome was for that?


I guess it's what you consider art. Charlie Chaplin produced with his own money, directed and stared in the film, The Great Dictator. Hollywood would have nothing to do with it. At the time, it was extremely controversial because Hollywood didn't dare poke fun at Hitler. It was a big no-no.

The movie helped open up American's eyes as to what was going on in Germany at the time.

I just watched the movie, The Imaginary Witness. It was about Hollywood and the Holocaust. I learned SO MUCH in that movie (like what I just posted)

Anyway, I think the quilt needs to be displayed in the library like she wants. Not necessarily in the kids' section but it should be there to promote conversation and education. You can't hide from the past.



ChildOfThe60s
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:34:28 PM

I find this in the same vein as art or even literature regarding The Holocaust. I think it's important. I think various mediums are totally acceptable, though not always appropriate for children. **ETA** I agree with you that it doesn't seem quite right to just walk in and you see it, without any warning.

In contrast, it's horrifying to know that children were often witness to such horrors wile dressed in their Sunday best, sitting atop their father's shoulders, with smiles on their faces. Talk about a jarring image.



^^This.

I don't think that it's 'sweeping it under the rug' or 'hiding' or 'not addressing' something because you expect a publicly funded/publicly visited building to exercise discretion as to who sees something like this. Small children, no. Children, maybe - depending on maturity level AND if a parent is available to explain it to them. Teens - of course, because they've already learned about it in school.

There should be complete and thorough education of ALL when it comes to even our darkest moments in history, but we don't need to scar little ones in the name of education when we have a choice.


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*Maddie_Isabella*
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:40:17 PM
Another story on her website.
In addition, there are also other stories of women and lynching that must be remembered. Mary Turner who died seeking justice for her husband who was also lynched. As a result, her unborn baby girl was cut from her body. Born alive someone then proceeded to stomp the new babe's head into the ground. Or, Mary Turner, twice victimized. Lynched because her brother killed a white man who had raped his sister. When they arrived to lynch him, he got away and she was then killed instead.



*~Maddie~*

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freecharlie
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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:01:39 PM
I don't like it being displayed at what seems to be an entrance of some sort without prior warning. It would really affect my 8 year old. I think my 11 year old might ask a question and then move on with his day.

I try to choose what my children will be exposed to and at what age. For instance, last summer DH, SIL, niece and I went to the Florida Holocaust Museum. I did not take my children. Why? I was drained after seeing all of that and I have had many more years to come to term with the things that happened.

My children have seen Remember the Titans and we have talked about race relations, but they haven't seen Mississippi Burning or Ghosts of Mississippi.

I wonder how long the quilt is to be up. Sometimes something like that loses its power and people quit noticing or pondering.


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benem
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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:03:15 PM
The story I read said it was on the 3rd floor. I don't know this library but it would be very odd for a children's dept to be on the higher floors.

I think it's brave of the library to display it and take the heat. Libraries are places of learning.


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kryssy
ShakesPEArean Pea

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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:02:25 PM
Just for reference's sake, here's an image of the library:



All floors open onto the atrium -- you can see the escalators to each floor on the left of the photo. The elevators open facing the escalators.

So, no, the children's section is down on the lower right... but half the fun of this library is riding the escalator up EVERY SINGLE FLOOR. Ask me how I know this...


Kryssy


I behold you riding with my love throughout the town,
And I bite my thumb at you.
Methinks the ducats in my purse are sorely lacking,
And I bite my thumb at you
And at her, too.
Were I but richer, I would be her suitor
Is this not a patent fact?
Though it pains me to the quick, I will salute her still
The aforementioned way: I bite my thumb.

pennyring
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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:11:46 PM
I'm not ok with it.

I don't think I learned about lynching until High School, and I believe that was age appropriate. Emotionally, I barely handled it then. I wouldn't want a little kid to experience an image like that. Not ok with me.



ScrapWench*
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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:40:08 PM


I think the artist that says "we must begin" to address the history of racism and lynching is someone who will never ever be satisfied with how it is addressed and will never let the country move forward. I believe lynching has been addressed and is broadly seen as a dark part of our history. The fact that she thinks it hasn't even begun to be addressed tells me some things.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


And that right there is why we are NOT done talking about slavery and racism and racial violence in this country.

Believe it or not, it isn't up to you or me to decide when we've acceptably addressed the subject.



I agree with you, but I would be concerned about children under the age of say, 10, seeing that quilt. It is shocking, as well it should be, but many young children will have a very difficult time seeing that.

I truly believe that if we don't face our history, don't remember what happened, don't keep reminding ourselves what happened, we will allow horrors like lynchings and the holocaust and back-alley abortions to happen again.

It is too easy to forget and very painful to face.

That quilt is amazing.


----Theresa

Ms Ladibug
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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:45:35 PM
Pictures and statues of Christ on the cross are just as graphic but accepted by many and children are taught about his death.

is one more acceptable than the other? voilent death is violent death.

ETA i hve n issue with the display of this quilt.


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redboots
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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:49:25 PM
History is full of ugly, uncomfortable truths. I have no problem with this quilt being displayed in a library, though I do question the wisdom of it being the first thing seen when you walk in.

Given the subject matter and the jarring image, I'd think it best to provide some kind of warning about the quilt so that those who are unaware of its presence in the library will know what to expect. Particularly those with young children.

I'd still use it as a teachable moment with my children, however, if we unexpectedly saw this piece of art. I would do my best to explain what the scene depicts in an age-appropriate manner.

MochiMochi
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Posted: 1/29/2013 12:08:29 AM
Wow, I just don't know. I can agree with almost everyone's POV in this thread - that the library is exactly the right place for it, that a 5-year old probably isn't ready for it.

It reminds me of the first time I heard Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit and I thought, Oh wow, neat song - THEN realized what she was singing about and was sick to my stomach. It hit me rather suddenly, and I wasn't expecting it at all. I think there's some value in coming to this subject with that sense of shock and horror, but again, perhaps not for a young child.

I wouldn't have a problem with it for me, but I can understand people's negative reactions. It's a disgusting piece of our history, I don't think we've scratched the surface of "dealing with it".

VirginiaGomes
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Posted: 1/29/2013 12:46:52 AM
As a mother of young children I would be very upset if we find that at our local library.
Luckily they have better common sense than that.


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benem
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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:53:22 AM

Pictures and statues of Christ on the cross are just as graphic but accepted by many and children are taught about his death.


*applause*

I grew up Catholic. Every time I walked into the church I was confronted with a giant crucifix with a corpse on it. I was taught about Jesus' torture and death from a very young age. And that was considered just fine!



benem
I live for the applause applause applause...

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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:53:37 AM
Kryssy that is a GORGEOUS library!



benem
I live for the applause applause applause...

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Posted: 1/31/2013 10:58:08 AM
What I find really disturbing is not the quilt.

It's the photo of this murdered woman and her MURDERED CHILD, taken on a bridge, with a whole bunch of white men standing proudly on the bridge, unafraid to be photographed with evidence of their murderous actions.


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