In honor of Black History Month, Youth Services Librarian Jasmine Parker coordinated a photo shoot to recreate two iconic images of the Civil Rights Movement.
Originally, I intended on having Mumtaz recreate the mug shot for Rosa Parks. I wasn’t completely sold by that idea, so I went to speak with (Library Page) Cheryl (Vaughn, pictured below). She mentioned Angela Davis and I thought, Angela was too provocative; plus I thought about trying to find an afro wig, and how hard that would be…but the more I thought about it the more it made sense to recreate the photo of Davis. The Civil Rights Movement was a time of a lot of displaced anger and disappointment for many people of color, and understandably so. When I approached Mumtaz about the idea she loved it. She wears her hair natural (free from any chemicals or straightening) for the most part, anyway. It’s always twisted up, but I knew she had a lot of hair…enough to wear a natural afro. And so it came to be…
The Group Shot^
This picture says it all as far as teamwork is concerned. So much of life is about how well you can work with others, and rely on one another to reach the finish line. I enjoy doing things alone, I am a loner at heart, largely because I am the only child, but as I grow older I appreciate having people to the front, sides, and back of me. I am grateful to be supported by a team of others, which teaches me the importance of being humble. This project was not an easy project to birth because many teens dropped out. Things didn’t go according to plan, but each of my co-workers present in this photo found some way to encourage me. And thus…here we are…
Again, we didn’t have enough teens to volunteer for the project this year, so I created a Black History Matters sign to draw direct attention not to just this month, which I have learned is so much more than the talents and contributions of African Americans, but also reflecting on our American history and how being American, and living in America has helped and hurt to shape our blackness.
I love that some staff wanted to share books about different African Americans that have resonated with them at one time or another. I love that it mattered to them to share this with others, visually.
This photo came to be because two male teens who committed to recreating a photo of Malcolm X dropped out. In effort to still have a recreated photo, it occurred to me to use this one but with all women. I think it turned out really cool given the amount of time I pitched the idea to when it was taken. I love (Youth Services Librarian) Elissa’s facial expression. It’s so stoic. Though her arm is not raised her pose and focus is just as strong. I love how it sets a tone for the photo. It’s amazing to me that her facial expression matches the strength of our fists. I don’t get that from the original picture, but I think it adds a nice touch to the recreated photo.
Visit the Youth Services Desk to find more resources related to Black History Month and more materials that document the Civil Rights Movement.