February is Black History Month. I always wonder how I can acknowledge it more with my art. Recently, I have been reading heavily about African-American history. Some of it scares me and makes me feel incredibly sad. When I was younger I remember learning about the middle passage. It created such intense visions in my head and still does to this day. I often wonder what it must have been like for the millions of Africans aboard the ships and the tremendous amount of courage they must have had. I have seen the middle passage depicted in movies and I have read about it but I know it does nothing in comparison to having actually experienced it.
As a child and a teenager I attended wonderful schools. But it always bothered me that I never really learned much about my culture. The history books were about 500 pages long and only 3 pages out of those 500 talked about African -Americans. It was always the same people. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. Please do not get me wrong they were extremely important figures in our society, but there are so many others that I never learned about or that my peers never learned about. I had no idea Africans were involved in the whaling industry, or that we fought in the Civil War. I wish there was a way to incorporate more of this into the educational system. Not just my culture but every culture. I think it's necessary and may decrease the level of ignorance and racism in our society. To be honest I learned most of my history from my parents and my own research.
I decided to do a series of drawings for Black History Month each week. The first one is entitled " The Middle Passage."