“Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.”-Tchaikovsky
It has been 4 days since my last posting. Just didn’t know what to write about. Life has been OK, no emergencies…Mom’s doing all right, though she’s been in the house for weeks due to the weather and the mountains of snow; yet she doesn’t complain. As long as I always have library books for her and she does her daily crossword puzzle, she’s not bored. How lucky I am that she has never been a demanding person who needs to be entertained. Speaking of Mom, I’ve written before on the time she took me uptown to see a panel discussion on Civil Rights in the early 60s at the NY Society for Ethical Culture. The society is over 100 years old. I definitely remember Sydney Poitier and Harry Belafonte being on the panel and I think James Baldwin also was there among others. Well, today is Mr. Poitier’s 87th birthday!!! I remember mom and I going to the movies to see “Lilies of the Field” and singing “Amen” along with Sydney Poitier and the nuns. I’ve seen every one of his movies. Today also marks the death of the great Frederick Douglass in 1895. It was a sudden death after having a very nice and productive day at a Women’s Rights conference. Folksinger, Buffy Sainte-Marie was born today in 1941. Always loved her music.
So, I found a little inspiration today to do my blog posting! Yay!
“I would describe my work as expressionist. The expressionist point of view is stressing your own feelings about something.”-Jacob Lawrence
Jacob Lawrence and his wife, Gwendolyn Knight
Jacob Lawrence was born today in Atlantic City, NJ in 1917. I used to love showing my students books containing his magnificent artwork and developing history and writing lessons based on his paintings that made history come alive. He was a very gentle man and had a long marriage to another artist, Gwendolyn Knight. Lawrence’s very famous paintings include his series on the Great Migration and series of paintings of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and John Brown.
“My belief is that it is most important for an artist to develop an approach and philosophy about life — if he has developed this philosophy, he does not put paint on canvas, he puts himself on canvas.”
“Jacob Lawrence was the first American artist of African descent to receive sustained mainstream recognition in the United States. His success came early —at the age of twenty-four — but lasted almost uninterrupted until his death in June 2000. In the last ten years of his life, he received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Arts and more than eighteen honorary post-doctorate degrees. Jacob Lawrence’s wife Gwen Knight Lawrence was a full partner in all of his efforts, and an accomplished artist in her own right. Like Jacob, Gwen Knight Lawrence began a lifelong pursuit of art in Central Harlem in the early 1930s. Her work, which reflected her interests and training in portraiture, dance, and movement, received increasing attention from the late 1960s onward in venues around the country. She was honored with a major retrospective in 2003 at the Tacoma Art Museum and at DC Moore Gallery in New York City. Jacob and Gwen Lawrence were both heirs and contributors to the cultural flowering of the Harlem Renaissance. Neither ever failed to give acknowledgement and thanks for their success to those who supported and mentored them in New York’s Harlem neighborhood during those early years, and both were strongly committed to helping others in turn, particularly young people. In their later life in Seattle, where Jacob Lawrence was a professor of art at the University of Washington, they were beloved members of Seattle’s cultural community who could be counted on to speak, appear, and support the arts whenever they were needed.” –jacobandgwenknightlawrencevirtual resource center
Hundreds of years ago, the great orator and abolitionist and former slave, Frederick Douglass said: “The marriage institution cannot exist among slaves, and one sixth of the population of democratic America is denied its privileges by the law of the land. What is to be thought of a nation boasting of its liberty, boasting of its humanity, boasting of its Christianity, boasting of its love of justice and purity, and yet having within its own borders three millions of persons denied by law the right of marriage?”
Like all great thinkers, his words reverberate today in 2013 as the highest court in the land considers the right for Gays to enter into marriages with full rights and benefits in all 50 states. According to an October, 2012 Gallup poll, approximately 3.4% of Americans identify themselves as gay or bisexual or transgender. What I can’t understand is why some people feel their lives are threatened by allowing people to marry whom they want to marry! It just doesn’t make sense to me!
I applaud 83 year old Edie Windsor for continuing the long battle in Washington, DC yesterday to gain her full marriage rights after her partner, Thea Speyer, died in 2009. If you haven’t seen the documentary on this remarkable couple, click on: A Very Long Engagement for a trailer.
It’s just so simple: people should marry whom they love.