1001 Black Men–#330

Hi Folks! I’ve been plugging away at the daily drawings, sometimes completing two or three drawings in a day; but I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t had a moment to sit down and post. I also have a couple of cool new projects in the works that you might be interested in, but I’ll write about those in an upcoming entry.

In mid June, I traveled across the country to Yale University where I was one of 27 faculty members brought together for a three-day seminar on the slave narrative. This is a drawing of my suite mate. He is a philosophy professor and a really sharp guy with a creative mind.

In the background, you will notice a stained glass window depicting enslaved Black women holding large baskets of cotton on their heads. You might ask, “Why is this the background for your drawing?” This was one of several stained glass images depicting scenes from U.S. slavery that adorned the windows of the Calhoun dining hall, where our group had its meals. The irony that a group of scholars who were gathered to discuss slave narratives was taking its meals in a historic building whose windows depicted scenes from slavery was not lost on any of us.

When these windows were created, the administrators of the University probably had little idea that the descendants of U.S. Black slaves would one day sit here alongside the descendants of slaveowners, all in pursuit of the same education, the same opportunities, and the same seat at the (dining) table. I hope that somewhere the ghosts of Calhoun and the person or people who created these stained glass windows are looking down on the Yale of today and gritting their ghostly teeth with rage, indignation, and shame.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

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