"Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired": Celebrating Freedom Heroes

FRI, MAR 25, 2016 (1:09:03)

Despite fierce prejudice and abuse, Fannie Lou Hamer was a champion of civil rights from the 1950s until her passing in 1977. Integral to Freedom Summer 1964, Hamer's speeches spurred the nation to support equal and voting rights causes. Author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Ekua Holmes discuss their 2015 book, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, which honors Hamer's life and legacy with a message of hope, strength and determination. The Museum of African American History's Director of Education and Interpretation, L'Merchie Frazier, introduces the conversation about Hamer as well as other freedom heroes featured in And Still We Rise: Race, Culture, and Visual Conversations, an exhibit companion book ranging from pioneering poet Philis Wheatley to famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass to the distinguished Tuskegee Airmen. Frazier is also the visual and performing artist who wrote the Foreword to And Still We Rise, the first visual history published to utilize African American quilting to chronicle the black experience in America from 1619 to 2013.

(Image: Warren K. Leffler; restored by Adam Cuerden [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, image cropped)

+ BIO: Carole Boston Weatherford

Carole Boston Weatherford wrote her first poems in elementary school, and in 1995 she made her literary debut with Juneteenth Jamboree. She has since written over three dozen more books, including Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (2006), Birmingham, 1963 (2007), and Becoming Billie Holiday (2008). In 2015, Weatherford wrote Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes. Her books have won numerous awards, and she received the Ragan-Rubin Award from the North Carolina English Teachers Association in 2007 and the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2010.

+ BIO: Ekua Holmes

Ekua Holmes is a painter and collage artist who uses news clippings, photographs, vibrant color, and skillful composition to infuse her work with energy. Her layered, abstract creations convey a sense of unity and evoke memories that are both personal and universal.

In her collages, she revisits the joy and challenges of childhood through adult eyes. These works reexamine the foundational relationships, games, and rule that we learn at an early age and apply throughout our lives.

Holmes illustrated Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer (2015), written by Carole Boston Weatherford.

+ BIO: L'Merchie Frazier

L'Merchie Frazier is a visual and performance artist, educator, consultant, and mother of two sons and one daughter. She is a native of Jacksonville, Florida, but now she is based in Boston and has been active in the New England community for over twenty years; she is a board member of FabLabs For America. As a visual artist she is best known for her highly skilled hand crafted beaded jewelry, fiber and metal sculptures, and mixed media installations and quilt series, the "Quilted Chronicles."

Currently, Frazier is Director of Education at the Museum of African American History. She was formerly Education Director of Arts Are Academic, serving several Boston cultural institutions, including the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Huntington Theater and the Boston Public Schools, where she promoted art literacy for students and teachers across disciplines. She has taught African American Art and Culture at the Boston Community Academy for at-risk students. Frazier teaches courses in cultural diversity; principal teacher of visual and performance art for the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists and workshop instructor for the Fuller Museum of Art in Brockton, MA. Certified as an artist educator by the Kennedy Center Artists as Educators program, she is on the roster of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Directory for Events and Residences; she served on the MCC Folk Arts Review Panel and the First Night 2001 Review Panel. She has also served as director of urban art camps in Greater Boston.

Her artwork has appeared in numerous publications, and she has exhibitions of her work in the Museum of African American History, Boston; the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston; the New England Quilt Museum; Museu Lasar Segall, Brazil; Ain Ping Harbor, Tainan, Taiwan; the American Craft Museum, New York; the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC; and the permanent collection of the White House.

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Museum of African American History