This is me.
This is me.
It ain’t no fun if a girl can’t have none
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fucking Bill Nye the damn science guy
John Phillip Simpson
The Captive Slave (Ira Aldridge as model)
Oil on canvas 50 x 40 in. (127 x 101.5 cm)
The Art Institute of Chicago
The story of this artwork is quite remarkable.
The Art Institute of Chicago announced in 2009 that it had acquired a painting that had not been viewed or on display for over 180 years.
This is that painting.
There is sufficient evidence to assume that this painting was done by Simpson in collaboration with Aldridge as an abolitionist statement. It was first displayed in 1827 at the Royal Academy of Arts Along with this poem:
But Ah! what wish can prosper, or what prayer
For merchants rich in cargoes of despair
It will never stop hurting me how much his outfit looks like a the outfits we put prisoners in. Every time I see it I see an incarcerated man in a modern prison. And then I am again reminded that no, this is an enslaved man from nearly 200 years ago. And in that moment the parallels between those two are so sharp and so poignant that I have to stop for a minute and just think about the world. And I want to scream and cry and burn this nation down and start fresh. But instead I just find myself a little more dedicated to my activism and a little more humble about the comforts and privileges afforded to me as a white person by other white people at the cost of the lives and freedom of other people.
I think the parallel hit a lot of people really hard.
I just wanted to point out that this isn’t an enslaved man-this is Ira Aldridge, an American actor working (and wildly popular) in Britain during this time. He collaborated with the artist for an Abolitionist work.
This is not a portrait of someone who had no choice over being painted.
I think it’s an important distinction to make because of both the effectiveness of his pose and expression; also to keep in mind the directed, purposeful agency of the man in this painting who is choosing to pose and express the deep emotions he feels. He is very much a part of this artwork’s creation and power.
Another painting of Aldridge performing:
In between takes on American Horror Story: Coven
MakeUp FX for Coven are designed and created at http://tinsleystudio.com
Slay bitch. Slay
Little Sarah Rector, a former slave, became one of the richest little girls in America in 1914. Rector had been born among the Creek Indians, as a descendant of slaves. As a result of an earlier land treaty from the government (in 1887) the government awarded the Creek minors children 160 acres of land, which passed to Rector after her parents’ deaths. Though her land was thought to be useless, oil was discovered in its depths in 1913, when she was just 10 years old.
Her wealth caused immediate alarm and all efforts were made to put the child Sarah under “guardianship” of whites whose lives became comfortable immediately. Meanwhile Sarah still lived in humble surroundings. As white businessmen took control of her estate, efforts were also made to put her under control of officials at Tuskegee Institute.
Much attention was given to Sarah in the press. In 1913, there was an effort to have her declared white, so that because of her millions she could ride in a first class car on the trains.
file that under black history they could be teaching us in February
I would love to know what became of Sarah Rector as an adult and whether or not she was able to maintain her wealth.
So I found this blogspot post: http://african-nativeamerican.blogspot.com/2010/04/remembering-sarah-rector-creek.html
It says not much is available/known about her later life, or her adolescence but, they did note the following:
Not much is written about her adolescence, but it is know that she did attend Tuskegee Institute, and after she completed her studies there, she moved to Kansas City. In 1922, she married Kenneth Campbell. They were known to have many real estate holdings in the area. She and her husband purchased a home that still stands today in Kansas City Missouri. The home is on 12th and Euclid in Kansas City.
She and her husband were known to entertain the many entertainers of the day from Duke Ellington to Count Basie. Little is known about the latter days of her life, but there are persons who are working on a biography of her life.
gonna keep digging to see if this biography exists yet, or if there’s any other information. The link offers a whole bunch of pictures and some genealogical information about Sarah Rector, as well as the complete clippings of many of those news articles.
(ETA: It looks like her nephew wrote a biography “Kelvin Rector has written a trilogy about this, the true story of his family, his aunt was Sarah Rector, the “Richest Colored Girl in the world” http://kelvinrector.com" that was in one of the comments on the article I linked to.)
adorable overload: http://mininaturals.tumblr.com
I want every.single.one.
what the hellare those
anyone else notice JLaw in the background?
I FORGOT THAT BACK WHEN PARIS HILTON WAS IN JAIL, MY DAD WROTE HER LETTER AND SHE SENT US BACK A LETTER AND AN AUTOGRAPHED PICTURE AND I JUST FOUND THEM AND IM ECSTATIC
Oh, she looks amazing here!
#this is not an exaggeration okay #children do say this #children do wonder why they can’t find themselves in the media #don’t fucking tell me it doesn’t matter #it matters so much #children NEED to see themselves represented #or else they grow up feeling inferior and not worthy