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Oral History: PAULINE MATHIS
Artist: Jonas Larbi
Title: Why, 2015, glass, duct tape, wood, 9.5”x 4”x 27”

Oral History: PAULINE MATHIS
Artist: Jonas Larbi
Title: Why, 2015, glass, duct tape, wood, 9.5”x 4”x 27”

My book was inspired by Pauline Mathis’ recollections of the early Civil Rights movement, when African Americans began preaching black pride. She explained her two perspectives of the movement: while she thought the movement was good for blacks (not a new idea to her as her father had always instilled black pride in her), she also believed that afro wearing youths who were excited and expressive should know why they should be proud, not just do it because it was popular. The movement was meant to promote overall positivity and uplift people, and it did, but that wasn’t an excuse to be ignorant and not think critically about it. This book’s black glass and bold, enlarged letters stress the relevance of Mathis’ beliefs in black pride. It also questions young black people following the “I’m Black and Proud” movement without any grounding, through emphasis on the word “Why,” which should speak to viewers regardless of their ethnicity.

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