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
(c) Dawn A. Williams Boyd Waiting for Medgar: Jackson, MS 1963
Waiting for Medgar: Jackson, MS 1963 80 x 56.5 inches
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.