Essay on Eight Artists Address Brown v. Board of Education

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Eight Artists Address Brown v. Board of Education

It was a cloudy Saturday afternoon, when I, accompanied by a friend, went to Krannert Art Museum for the first time to see the social studies exhibition in relation to Brown v. Board of Education. Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court unanimously outlawed racial segregation in public school system. Although the decision is widely considered a major step towards a more equitable and integrated educational system, it did not fix all the racial problems in school system. Today, at the fiftieth anniversary of the High Court ruling, eight Americans artists share their works with the public at the Art Museum, both to commemorate Brown v. Board of Education and to ask the American
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Apart from the two of us, there was just one other visitor in our two-hour stay. He was a Caucasian American, probably a graduate student or a faculty member, and he left almost as soon as we arrived. The kind of hush in the museum served as the reminder for the visitors to keep their voices low. The atmosphere generated by that silence did not encourage discussion among the viewers, but it helped provoked the thoughts and feelings in individual mind.

It took nearly an hour before we managed to get into the Social Studies exhibition room. The first item we looked at was entitled Plessy v. Ferguson, the result of collaboration between Vander Zwan and Carrie Mae Weems. It was a sequence of five monochrome paragraphs featuring a black woman apparently competing for a chair with a white woman. Initially, the two people sit back to back on one chair. The black woman is then forced out of the chair, leaving the other person fully occupying it. She returns to the chair and appears to be discussing, or perhaps arguing, with the white woman. This is the only time the two people face each other. She is then allowed to barely lean on the chair, with the white woman sitting on most part of it. The whole sequence comes to a complete cycle, when, in the last photograph, the two people share the chair, again, back to back. The photographs efficiently reminded me of the Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson, of how the juridical system failed to

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