June 6, 2011 § 8 Comments
JUST LIKE FAMILY is a blog about African American women who raised white children in mid- to late-20th century—giving voice to a history and experience not often acknowledged in this country. This cultural fusion of black and white and the intimacy it suggests has undeniably shaped the lives of many in this country in complex ways that I think need to be explored. But how do we bear witness to such complexity from different points of view? With reader input and my own postings, we will form a purpose toward inclusiveness and healing that I hope will be enriched through our exploration.
This is a topic that many artists, novelist, etc. are exploring now. the collective conciousness must be at work. We saw an exhibit in Charleston in which an artist had explored this topic through old photographs the she had layered with her special painting technique.
I feel that too. “We” want to understand the realities of our past. Would love to hear more about the exhibit in Charleston!
The exhibit that was mentioned in the previous post is called the Nanny Project by DH Cooper, a photographer who is the Creative Strategist and In House coordinator for “Evoking History/Places with a Future,” a project of the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina. Nanny Project is currently exhibited at the City Gallery in Charleston. Charlestonmag.com’s interview of the artist reveals that through “discarded photographs taken in the 1800s to the present of African-American nannies and the white children they helped raise, she examines the subjects, evaluates their social hierarchies, and then re-images the compositions, transferring the images to cloth, which she then embroiders and quilts. ‘By combining traditional crafts and manipulated photographs, DH Cooper questions the tradition and heightens the viewer’s awareness of contradictions that are still relevant today,” says co-curator Erin Glaze.’”
I was reading Mrs. Whaley’s Garden and stopped to look up some infomation
about it and found your comments online. I really had never even thought
about how my grandchildren’s lives are so very different from my own
childhood experiences until one evening recently. My grand daughters,
Grace (5) and Adelle(3) were staying overnight and Grace was having a hard
time falling asleep. She wanted another story and I began to tell her about
my life when was her age. We had two maids named Ruby. Big Ruby cared for
me in the mornings and Little Ruby took care in the afternoons. They cooked ,
cleaned, and really became by moms for me until I was twelve when we
moved from Texas to South Carolina. I briefly said life was so different then,
explaining a little bit about how they didn’t go to our schools, churches, didn’t
eat with us, etc. She teared up and asked me to tell her about my life again
but please leave out the bad parts about the black people.
It has made me so much more aware about how we took it all for granted .
Thought you might like to hear about this.
Lacey Casteel Ellis
I think kids these days now instinctly know that the old segregation rules were unfair, Thank you for your comments.
Thank you for your comments and your wonderful story about your grand children. How instinctually children respond to unfairness. It’s great you are telling them about the past. At the right time they will understand and protest some of the lingering bits and pieces of racism they may encounter in the adult world.
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