Tangled Roots (Installation View)

Lynching in America, Slavery, White Supremacy, Social Injustice, Jim Crow Laws, Hate Crimes

Nine 36" x 30" double plexi and mirrored-backed vitrines in magnetized birch base set in steel grid framework with crystal prisms, Louisiana barbed-wire, glass, copper wire, ash, powdered metals, synthetic polymer, resin, mixed-media. 

 

Quotes from Abel Meeropol's poem "Strange Fruit" and Claude McKay's poem, The Lynching.

 

There were 4,608 victims of lynching in the United States between 1882 and 1932. More than seven in ten lynching victims were African Americans. Until anti-lynching campaigns became more poitically motivated, lynchings through the early 1900's were treated as local matters. Even particularly brutal cases barely made headline news. And still they continue.

 

The Lynching 

by Claude McKay

 

His spirit is smoke ascended to high heaven.

His father, by the cruelest way of pain,

Had bidden him to his bosom once again;

The awful sin remained still unforgiven.

All night a bright and solitary star

(Perchance the one that ever guided him,

Yet gave him up at last to Fate's wild whim)

Hung pitifully o'er the swinging char.

Day dawned, and soon the mixed crowds came to view

The ghastly body swaying in the sun:

The women thronged to look, but ever a one

Showed sorrow in her eyes of steely blue:

And little lads, lynchers that were to be,

Danced round the dreadful thing in fiendish glee.

 

Finished size: 119" x 91" x 1.75" (302 x 231 x 4.5 cm)