Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The United States of Attica by Faith RInggold

The United States of Attica,  1971-1972, by Faith Ringgold.  Offset Paper. 22 inches by 28 inches. All rights reserved.  Currently featured in All the World To See Exhibition at the International Center of Photography.  All rights reserved.

Faith did this poster in tribute to the men who died in the police raid on the prisoner's rebellion in Attica, New York.  It was yet another in a series of events that were extensively televised in the 60s and the 70s where we were all on the edge of our seats watching what would happen to these brave men who had dared to publically risk their lives in order to protest the conditions in the prisons.  Of course, the final debacle took place in the wee hours of the morning long before we had the technological advantages of the internet and of a CNN.

The result of the prisoner's entirely nonviolent endeavor was not only that many of them tlost their lives and/or were subsequently tortured, but that conditions for prisoners in the State of New York grew even worse.   Faith's approach to this poster was to research all the various genocides and murders, including all the casualties of war, that had taken place in American history and write them into a map of the United States.  Indeed, the poster invites others to contribute further documentations of unfair brutalities committed under the auspices of the United States government or from the time the colonies were first settled.   The colors she uses were red and green, in honor of Marcus Garvey's Black Nationalist Flag so popular in the 60s.

"Attica: An Anniversary of Death" by Bruce Jackson, Artvoice 9 September 1999 for more information about the events surrounding Attica written by my former colleague at the University of Buffalo.

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About Me

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I am a writer and a professor of English at the City College of New York, and the CUNY Graduate Center. My books include Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman (1979), Invisibility Blues (1990), Black Popular Culture (1992), and Dark Designs and Visual Culture (2005). I write cultural criticism frequently and am currently working on a project on creativity and feminism among the women in my family, some of which is posted on the Soul Pictures blog.