Standing on the shoulders of my forebears

Elizabeth Lorde-Rollins, MD, MSc, New York City, NY. Manhattan. My grandmother came from Grenada in 1926 and got a job at the Waldorf-Astoria cleaning because she was light enough to pass for white. My grandfather had no work until WWII broke out (he was too old to serve).

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They glare at my bi-racial son.

Linnette Derry, New York City, NY. I often think about the inevitable discussion about race that I will have to have with my son one day. That day when he will begin to ask me why people think I’m his nanny/housekeeper instead of his mother; the day when he will ask me why people keep […]

I am grace, power and inextinguishable

Ryan Brooke Taylor, New York City, NY. Collected from: WITNESS: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties at The Brooklyn Museum My experience as a black male artist is directly related to the sacrifices and gains made by those who participated, in any and every way in the civil rights movement. They have made me […]

Ike Caddy

Eisenhower’s Negro caddy was too slow.

Karen Brinkman, New York City, NY. Cleaning out my mother’s attic, I came across a vase wrapped in a newspaper page from 1957. This sentence was in a short article about the firing of “Cemetery” Perteet, President Eisenhower’s long time golf caddy. Learn more about Karen’s 6 words: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19570402&id=MexQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=fyUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2822,503509  

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I’m black, not from the Carribean

Lemuel Reddikc, New York City, NY. People ask me “where are you from?” and I never know how to answer that. I just say “I’m black,” but then they ask me where my parents are from. My maternal grandmother is from the West Indies and my maternal grandfather was from the Carribean, but I can’t […]

Art in the face of racism

Christopher McBride New York City, NY Brooklyn Seeing that exhibit really brought about a strong reaction emotionally from myself. As a musician, seeing the visual art side of things was really powerful.

It has given me such hope

Malcolm Long Corley New York City, NY Brooklyn It is amazing how people lived and fought during these times. Seeing the black and white pictures almost gives the viewer the same experiences of whats happening in the pictures.

IT GAVE THE FREEDOM I HAVE TODAY.

IYANU MILLER-TAHIR New York City, NY IF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT WAS NOT THERE I MIGHT NOT BE A FREE CHILD. I MIGHT HAVE TO GO TO AN ALL BLACK SCHOOL FOR SIXTH GRADE. I AM VERY THANKFULL FOR THE MOVEMENT BECAUSE I WOULD HAVE HAD TO FACE SEGRAGATION AND THE CAREUL UNFAIRNESS THAT I […]

Always Fight for what is Right

Chris G Murray New York City, NY Manhattan As an activist in the 60’s/70’s and having had our share of victories, I continue the fight for liberty, freedom and doing what is morally right. All people must live together and combine their strengths to fight against the multi-national corporations

It reminds me freedom is possible.

Mickey Lambert New York City, NY Brooklyn In a time that most people think of as a “post-civil-rights” era, in many ways, we are more tied up in injustice and inequality than ever. These images and sounds are a reminder that social justice looks like something more encompassing.

MY FLUIDITY IN THE AFRICAN DIASPORA.

OTI OBOH New York City, NY Brooklyn I’m Nigerian born raised in the US and find my fluidity in my identity as Nigerian, as American and as Nigerian-American flow in the different spaces I occupy. The Civil Rights allowed for more expansion of African people to occupy different parts in the world.

Pain, black reaction OJ Simpson verdict

David J. Shapiro New York City, NY Manhattan After so much sacrifice, blood, time and heartache by whites who supported the Civil Rights Movements, to watch and hear the jubilation of a “not guilty” verdict from a community who benefited from that work, for a man who brutally murdered two whites, I was heart-struck.

When will we see the light

Jeannie Coicou New York City, NY Brooklyn The story behind my six words is that in this world there are forces that benefit by keeping the masses asleep. Realizing that we’re all a human family. Separation and devision is merely a tactic and as long as we don’t see each other as brothers and sisters. […]

This history My life My legacy

Saundra Thomas New York City, NY My life began at the start of the civil rights movement. 1962. the music of the civil rights movement is the soundtrack of my childhood. I grew up black in a mixed community, too black to befriend the whites and too “white” to befriend the blacks….and lesbian. my legacy […]

Stand up, don’t be silent, Fight Continues

Amy New York City, NY Brooklyn The power of everyday people to stand up and not take racism, sexism, anti-semetism, homophobia as okay. We must fight and always speak out. We cannot be silent, even when it seems like the hatred is focussed on “others” because we are all humans and one person being put […]

Black, Mixed, Metisse, Exotic, Afropino, Fulatto

Christina Lewis Halpern New York City, NY The strange thing about race in the western world is the strong need to put people’s identities into boxes. I have a complicated identity, which led to people helpfully telling me what category I fit in, including making up some words to describe me. I’ve chosen to describe […]

¨Still happens today, just disguised differently.”

Jamila Best New York City, NY Brooklyn Whereas my ancestors dealt with the troubles of blatant racism, today, Blacks may find themselves in a position in which we are still facing racism, it’s just coded differently. Sometimes, it’s in the face of a disgruntled white employer who may depict you as an angry Black woman, […]

The Civil Rights Movement is Different

Tiana Icesis Bryant New York City, NY Brooklyn My six words are like the Civil Rights Movement is different from any other subject, more independent, it’s a Lone Ranger. All the other things people say that’s important are not really because they are backed up with some things. People back everything up that’s important to […]

My family and school are interracial.

Jaxon Isaac Stams New York City, NY Brooklyn In my school, there are more non-Caucasians and are of multiple races. In my family, my grandparents on my father’s side are interracially married, including my Uncle Ron, who is Trinidadian. On my mom’s side, my mom’s aunt is married to a man from Yemen.

I’m lost in this dark ambiguity.

Catherine Betances New York City, NY The Bronx The more I learn about the struggle then and now, the more I feel lost in this deep struggle, in the ambiguity of what it all means. My color, my everything, is lost in the white light. “My” race card is not something I pull out when […]

Such power in words and action

Alyssa Cartee New York City, NY Queens Every word and every action in life has such extreme consequences. The Civil Rights movement reminds me that the choice to make your words and actions negative or positive prove who you are as a person

“I’m Native American too!” — says everyone

Alyssa Cartee New York City, NY Queens Every time race and culture comes up, when I mention that I am a registered Cherokee I get the same response. My grandmother was born on the reservation and we are dual citizens with the Cherokee Nation. But apparently I’m just as native as every single other person.

It made my very existence possible.

Karen Palmer New York City, NY Brooklyn I am the child of two teachers, the grandchild of a police officer, a seamstress and two farmers, all African-American and alive during the Jim Crow era. I could never have become a college graduate, world traveler, journalist and school founder without their many sacrifices and the example […]

I knew that these things happened, just not on this level.

Rachel K. McCain New York City, NY Brooklyn Hello, I’m Rachel. I’m eleven years old. Thanks for sharing this wonderful art and information with everyone. I know my story was more than six words, but it was important to use all the words.I was taught about the civil rights movement in school, but the teachers […]

Well behaved for a black kid

Alisha Ragan New York City, NY Brooklyn My six words come from practically every field trip and public outing I have taken my students on over the past 7 years. Both teaching here in Brooklyn and teaching LA, people have told me my kids are ‘well behaved for black kids’ or ‘so nice for Mexican […]

United we stand divide we fall.

Rashawn Love New York City, NY Brooklyn Only when people stop stop see the difference in each can we build a foundation that can’t be broken by fear of others,the hate of the unknown, and the greed of personal gain.

Mass Incarceration, Stop and Frisk: #NewJimCrow.

Ray G New York City, NY Brooklyn The Black Liberation struggle did not go far enough — did not uproot oppression, disassemble power structures, create a new state power of the people — did not make revolution. We are seeing how all the successes of these past struggles have been reduced and reversed, and the […]

Mom, talk about your “black firsts.”

Janice Lowe New York City, NY My mother, Dr. Willa Lowe was one of the first black English teachers in several high schools in New Jersey, Washington, DC and Ohio. She was part of that first wave of school integration in which talented African American teachers were hired before African American students were admitted. She […]

We-all bleed red. So don’t judge

Nathalie Gregoire New York City, NY Brooklyn All my life I have been judged. When we see black people we automatically think they are thieves. When it comes to whites we think they are perfect. So many times we try to hide our identities, our race in order to fit in with society. But when […]

diversity is a sign of progress

Saira New York City, NY Brooklyn An immature nation is still afraid of racial tolerance and hesitant to move on to a state of love and acceptance. With time, the nation learns and grows. The result is a community in which all are free to contribute to its progress and maturity is thus reached.

Proudness that reflects a profound sadness

Stacy N Knight New York City, NY Brooklyn The “civil rights movement” has not ended nor has the history eluded my development- It is my current reality. I vividly remember the first time I was called a ni**** at age 5 and the most recent experience of being called “black devil” at age 28.

Race: a conceit. Racism: a scourge.

Stella Katz New York City, NY I’m Hungarian/American, raised working-class in New York City. I believe that race is a conceit (created to justify the exploitation of one group by another) and racism is the practice of that conceit, robbing us of our shared humanity by creating a hierarchy of false distinctions.

school segregation still sickening suffocating success

Maureen Curran New York City, NY Staten Island The words by the Jacob Lawrence poster talking about people in Brooklyn in 1962 calling for school desegregation in our schools, breaks my heart when combined with this weeks news story about NY having the most segregated schools in the nation. Why? When will injustice cease?

boldness, fight, outspoken, never, give, up

Lydia George New York City, NY Brooklyn These activist have shown me the power of their boldness and how reluctant they were to stop their movement in the midst of adversity. Its encouraging even today to use those characteristics to fight injustices still today in our society.

How little I truly knew about it

Mary ann Shannon New York City, NY Brooklyn I am enlightened, embarrassed, humbled and grateful as I engage and experience this collective. Truly allowed me to revisit a part of my own history with a different perspective.

A fight that still continues today

Austin McKenzie New York City, NY Brooklyn Even though we as a society have progressed in terms of race and how we treat one another there is still a way to go many of our schools are predominantly one race and are over or under funded according to the prison system is systematically racist and […]

“You probably don’t speak English”

Michelle Liv New York City, NY Brooklyn As a person of color, it still angers me that mainstream society still regards what is “white” as “normal” or the status quo. I hate being judged on my racial appearance and assumed that I do not speak English because I am not white. These words were uttered […]

Tornado of human culture fans flames.

Greg Huebner New York City, NY Brooklyn I was really struck by a piece in first half of the exhibit, with the two ‘crosses’ in a red center surrounded by black figures walking or getting sucked into the center of a vortex that they could not escape. When cultures are mixed together confrontations arise and […]

We invented race; we perpetuate race

Beluvid Ola-Jendai New York City, NY I see race as a social construct. one that highlight differences of phenotype and cultural and geography at the expense of all else. most of it is unreal. a mythology to imbue false histories and elevated ethnocentrism. its hard to escape at times as we continue to invent new […]