This blog is composed of images and writings related to the life and work of Faith Ringgold, her mother Mme. Willi Posey, and her daughters Michele and Barbara Wallace. There are pages with links to blogs composed of the materials arranged by decades. The blog, itself, will ultimately be composed of materials related to the life of the family in the 90s and the 21st century.

Saturday

Photo-Essay: Picture of My Family

The picture which provides the opening image for this blog is of my family, my mother and father and my Aunt Barbara on the eve of Aunt Barbara's wedding.  It is a party taking place in my grandmother's livingroom at 363 Edgecombe Avenue in Harlem in 1950.  I am not yet born or even considered. My  parents are not yet married.  They will elope and marry later in the same year.

After this lovely wedding, in which Aunt Barbara married Jo-Jo, the man who is kneeling in the picture, they will live together with Momma Jones and my Mom Faith in this same small appartment. Faith says now the reason she decided to marry Earl was to avoid the crowd at the house, principally composed of Aunt Barbara and Jo-Jo. Aunt Barbara, Mom says, would strut around in her slip on hot days while Mom was forced to be fully clothed from the first thing in the morning to the last thing at night because Jo-Jo was there.

I can imagine that the party wore pretty thin after awhile.

So Mom and Earl eloped also in 1950, timing it to coincide with Momma T (Earl's mother) getting married to someone I called "Chiefie," or "Sarge," whom I thought of as one of my four grandfathers and going off to the Air Force post in Guam as his wife.

It was a series of endless weddings, triggering one another like falling dominoes. Weddings have potentially tragic consequences. They are major events, one of the few ways to completely change the trajectory of whatever your life might have been without them.

As it turned out, Jo-Jo, who had been the cause of all this dislocation, was already married to somebody else. One day, Jo-Jo's real wife appeared at the door. Aunt Barbara and Jo-Jo's marriage was subsequently annulled.

A few years laters, my mother and Earl had married, and my sister and I were born, and my Mom left my Dad and took us to live with Momma Jones at 363 Edgecombe Avenue.  Mother's marriage would be annulled as well on the grounds that she had not realized that he was addicted to heroine. In those days, it was not so easy to sever a marriage.

This seemingly happy-go-lucky photograph continues to wreak of tears and sadness to me. And yet I love it still. Soul Pictures. Such is the spirit in which this blog, which I hope one day will be a book, is constituted.

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Michele Wallace: Talking in Pictures

Michele Wallace: Talking in Pictures
Barbara, MJ, Michele and Mom in the background in sunglasses at a fashion show in the early 60s