Oral History: ISAAC THOMAS
Artist: Nick Kline
Title: Nickel Piece Of Ice Melting, 2015, glass, ice pick, 3.5”x6.5”x 7.5”

In the 1940’s segregated South, just outside of Birmingham, Alabama, Isaac Thomas Jr. delivered ice as a young man.

Isaac Thomas Jr.: I worked at delivering ice; I delivered ice, I tell my children about this they laugh. I earned I think $4.00 a week delivering ice. We delivered ice to the white folks in the morning while it was cool. We delivered ice to the black folks in the evening while it was hot. They used to say “give me a nickel piece of ice melting.”

Ms. Burton: So they were getting less for their money.

Isaac Thomas Jr.: White folk got theirs early in the morning and I earned $4.00 a week for that.

My glass book is to resemble a melting block of ice, and the vintage, rusted ice pick from Birmingham, Alabama, is left free to viewers as a “virtual” invitation to pick-up and implement.

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