Paintings of Desegregation
Two art works that show contrasting images of integration are Norman Rockwell’s, The Problem We All Live With, and Domingo Ulloa’s, Racism/Incident at Little Rock. Rockwell’s picture depicts an African American girl being escorted to school by U.S. Marshals in New Orleans. The concrete wall has been hit with tomatoes, resembling an explosion from a bomb. Domingo Ulloa’s image depicts school integration in a completely different way, by capturing the horrendous attitudes shown by white protesters. The painting depicts black school children surrounded by “phantasmagorical monsters”, without the aid of federal marshals. The students are courageously huddled together in the middle, lacking fear or emotion. They are standing together relying on each other and protecting one another. Two contrasting images are capable of depicting the struggle of African Americans and the difficulty of integration.
Virginia Civil Rights Memorial
The efforts of the NAACP and Barbara Johns are portrayed in the Virginia Civil Rights Memorial in Richmond, Virginia. The memorial was revealed in 2008 and was designed by Stanley Bleifeld. Barbara Johns is depicted as leading a group of students and parents in the protest. Her posture and hand placement is a symbol for hope and pride. It reflects that if a young high school student was able to protest and make huge advancements in school desegregation, then many other individuals could have positive impacts on the Civil Rights Movement.
Barbara Johns, a sixteen-year-old student at Moton High School, was one of the leading figures for the push for school desegregation. Based on inferior school supplies and conditions, she led a protest that would open the eyes of NAACP lawyers and help start the court case battle of Brown vs. Board of Education. The high school was built to accommodate one hundred and eighty black students, but lacked many necessary resources. Barbara Johns states that, “I was unhappy with the school facility and its inadequacies … it wasn’t fair that we had such a poor facility, equipment, etc., when our white counterparts enjoyed science laboratories, a huge facility, separate gym dept. etc.” (Heinemann). After walking into the courthouse of Farmville and being denied help, the NAACP intervened. With the aid of Oliver Hill and Spottswood Robinson III, the NAACP attacked the clause “separate but equal.” After Brown vs. Board of Education reached a verdict, Prince Edward County chose to close public schools rather than to integrate them. With the schools closed for five years, white students were able to attend Prince Edward Academy, a private school funded by donations and state grants. It was not until the case of Griffin vs. County School Board of Prince Edward that schools were desegregated in Farmville.
This life-size memorial, shows the students of the Little Rock Nine: Melba Pattillo, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray, Carlotta Walls, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas, Minnijean Brown and Thelma Mothershed. The placement of each individual depicts The Little Rock Nine as a single entity entering the school as a group. Each individual’s characteristics are depicted by the facial expression and demeanor of each person. The memorial is titled “Testament”, which signifies their testament to enter the school and end the segregation of integration.
The centerpiece of the Martin Luther King Memorial is the “Stone of Hope”, a 30-foot statue of Dr. King, with the inscription “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” The sculpture, called the “Stone of Hope,” gets its name from a line in King’s “I Have a Dream” speech: “With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” At the entrance to the memorial two stones stand apart, representing the “Mountain of Despair.” A single wedge is pushed out, which is where King’s form emerges.