Dawn Williams Boyd

SERIES: The Sins of the Fathers

The Sins of the Fathers series includes 18 pieces: several acrylic paintings on canvas and plywood, one bas - relief sculpture in oven fired clay and these cloth paintings. It discusses incidences of racial violence against Black American citizens, here in the US, from the 400 year long horror of the slave trade through the Civil Rights Movements,​ to the brutal murder, on a Christmas eve, of a newly elected sheriff in DeKalb County, GA, 135 years after Emancipation. Several of the acrylic pieces can be viewed on this site under Acrylic Paintings. When exhibited each piece has its own blurb of text which gives a short  American history lesson.


(c) Dawn A. Williams Boyd    Mammy's Revenge: Broken Promises 2014

Mammy's Revenge: Broken Promises 

59 x 48 inches                                                                 

Assorted fabrics, braided rope, cowrie shell, buttonn.Appliqued by machine.Embroidered, embellished and quilted by hand

 Mammy's Revenge: Broken  Promises

Unlike most of this series which depict actual events in American history, this latest addition to the series is total fiction. The idea of Mammy as an idealized character seems to have had a resurgence in 2014, whether in artist Kara Walker's "A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby" which premiered at the former Dominoes Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn or in author Donald McCaig new "Gone With The Wind" prequel "Ruth". My inspirartion actually came from an old movie that I never got the title for, where the mammy character, named Indigo and played by the late Ruby Dee, is beaten and tortured by an over zealous slave catcher when she refuses to give up her children who have run to freedom. In the movie the master, whom Indigo had reared is grief stricken. My version of the story reads somewhat diferently.

La Croix de Guerre


We served. Whether as boat pilots along the Atlantic coast or as non-combat laborers building bridges in Germany, we served. Whether as slaves substituting for their masters, as ammunition handlers or while guarding German spies, we served. Lord Dunmore’s Ethiopian Regiment, escaped slaves who fought against the Continental Army. Louisiana’s Native Guard - a Confederate militia of free persons of color. Buffalo Soldiers, the first peacetime all Black regiment in the regular US Army, fought against the Comanche and Cheyenne natives, as white – and Black - settlers migrated west. Whatever we were called, when America finally called on us, we came to her aid in astonishing numbers. African American soldiers have fought - and died in significantly higher numbers than their white comrades - in every war, police action and conflict from the Revolutionary War to the War in Iraq. We served to keep the world free, though often times, we were not free ourselves.In World War I, the 369th Infantry Regiment, called the Harlem Hellfighters, was mostly comprised of African American men from the New York State area. Formerly the 15th New York National Guard, they were the first all - Black regiment to be shipped overseas with the US Expeditionary Forces. Though the unit was initially relegated to labor services, building bridges and digging trenches, in April 1918 the US Army decided to assign the unit to the French Army for the duration of the United States' participation in the war. The 369th Infantry Regiment went into the trenches as part of the French 16th Division. They spent 191 days in combat, longer than any other American unit in the war, during which they neither surrendered an inch of Allied Territory nor lost a soldier to capture. Though they suffered a casualty rate of 35 percent, they were the first Allied unit to reach the Rhine. The French government awarded the regiment the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star for the taking of Séchault, in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France. During the war, no Negro soldier received the US Congressional Medal of Honor, America’s highest award for military heroism.

 La Croix de Guerre           70 x 46 inches                    

Assorted fabrics, cotton floss, silk ribbon, buttons, antique US Army pin. Machine appliqued and pieced. Embroidered, embellished and quilted by hand.

(c) Dawn A. Williams Boyd La Croix de Guerre 2009

These Bones: Atlanta, GA 1979


NAME                        AGE               DATE OF DISAPPEARANCE

Edward Smith                 14                                         7/21/79

Alfred Evans                    13                                         7/23/79

Milton Harvey                   14                                         9/4/79

Yusef Bell                          9                                          10/21/79

Angel Lenair*                   12                                         3/4/80

Jeffrey Mathis                   10                                         3/5/80

Eric Middlebrooks            14                                         5/18/80

Chris Richardson             12                                         6/9/80

Latonya Wilson                 7                                           6/22/80

Aaron Wyche                    10                                         6/23/80

Anthony Carter                  9                                           7/6/80

Earl Terell                          11                                         7/30/80

Clifford Jones                    13                                         8/20/80

Darren Glass                     10                                         9/14/80

Charles Stephens             12                                         10/9/80

Aaron Jackson                   9                                          11/2/80

Patrick Rogers                  16                                         11/10/80

Lubie Geter                        14                                         1/3/81

Terry Pue                           15                                         1/5/81

Patrick Baltazar                 11                                         2/6/81

Curtis Walker                     15                                         2/19/81

Joseph Bell                        15                                         3/2/81

Timothy Hill                        13                                         3/12/81

Eddie Duncan                    21                                         3/20/81

Michael McIntosh               23                                         3/25/81

Larry Rogers                      20                                         4/81

John Porter                         28                                         4/81

Jimmy Ray Payne              21                                         4/22/81

William Barrett                   17                                         5/16/81

Nathaniel Carter                 27                                         Unknown


In 2005, it was revealed that Charles T. Sanders, a white supremacist affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan who had been investigated for a role in the Atlanta child killings, once praised the crimes in secretly recorded conversations. Saunders told an informant for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in the 1981 recording that the killer had “wiped out a thousand future generations of niggers”.


(c) Dawn A. Williams Boyd  These Bones: Atlanta, GA  2004

These Bones: Atlanta, GA 1979          86 x 61               

Assorted fabrics, cotton floss,polyester net, lace, buttons, ribbon, bias tape. Machine appliqed and quilted. Embroidered and embellished by hand SOLD

(c) Dawn A. Williams Boyd Waiting for Medgar: Jackson, MS 1963

Waiting for Medgar: Jackson, MS 1963 80 x 56.5 inches  SOLD

Cotton Fabrics and floss, bugle beads, sequins. Pieced by hand. Appliqued, embroidered and embellished  by hand.

Waiting for Medgar: Jackson, MS 1963


Medgar Wiley Evers was born at Decauter, MS on July 2, 1925. He served in the United States Army during World War II, but was best know as a prominent civil rights leader in his home state. On June 12,1963 he was brutally murdered by admitted white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith, who hid in a patch of honeysuckle 100 feet from Medgar’s home and shot him in the back with a high powered, scoped hunting rifle under a full moon. Though De La Beckwith and his distinctive white car were seen in Medgar’s neighborhood by numerous Negro witnesses on the day of the shooting, and though he was brought to trial on three separate occasions, a “jury of his peers” failed to convict him until 30 years later when the murder weapon was finally found in the original judge’s bedroom closet. “Ghosts of Mississippi”

The Middle Passage


Cruel, unjust, exploitative, slavery bound two peoples together in bitter antagonism…Slavery rested on the principle of property in man - of one man’s appropriation of another’s person as well as of the fruits of his labor. By definition and in essence it was a system of class rule, in which some people lived off the labor of others.

“Roll, Jordan, Roll – the World the Slaves Made”  Eugene D. Genovese


Fundamentally, slavery and other forms of bondage in colonial America existed for one reason: to fulfill the need for a cheap, reliable supply of labor. Land had to be cleared; crops had to be planted and cultivated; towns had to be built…In some parts of the Americas, Indians were put to work on plantations, but when Negroes were brought from Africa, they were preferred as laborers…African Negroes came from a more advanced culture. They lived in settled towns and in some cases large cities. Most of their food was raised in nearby fields which the men prepared for tilling and the women cared for once the heavy labor was done.

The first Africans who were brought to America, like the indentured servants who came under contract, were unfree for only a period of a few years-not for life. However, in 1664 the Maryland legislature ruled that Negroes must serve their masters for the rest of their lives. In 1669 a Virginia law stated that Negroes were property. 1669 was a half century after “twenty Negars” stepped ashore at Jamestown, Virginia.

“The Negro in America” Larry Cuban

(c) Dawn A. Williams Boyd The Middle Passage 2007

The Middle Passage               93 x 46 inches          

Cotton fabrics and floss, silk ribbon, kente cloth. Machine appliqued.  Embroidered and quilted by hand.

© 2018 By Dawn A. Williams Boyd.

All rights reserved.

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