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.


Critical Essay: This Whole Blogging Thing is Crazy

You never know whether anybody is reading this stuff or not, or whether you are just playing with yourself in public. In any case, last weekend I was honored to participate in the Porter Colloquium at Howard University. Everything about it was just a blast from the past. I saw and heard artists William T. Williams, Frank Bowling and Mel Edwards talking about and showing their own work on an artist panel. Also in attendance was Deborah Willis moderating a Collecting Panel.

I managed to completely exhaust myself by insisting upon walking from the hotel to Howard University's campus but it gave me a wonderful opportunity to reacquaint myself with a little bit of Washington, D.C., particularly that part immediately around the campus. My own presentation was called The Soul Century and was focused on pictures and stories relating to the development of the women in my family since my grandmother's birth in 1903 through the final years of the 20th century.

I tried to use my pictures on Flickr with an internet connection, hoping I would be able to set it on automatic slideshow but that was a disaster, probably because of fluctuations in the internet connection. Subsequently I was forced to narrate my images rather than reading from the text of the two chapters I have prepared on Soul Pictures. One of the texts will appear in an anthology on The Black Bougeoisie, which should be out in about a year.

This is why you have to use powerpoint when you do public lectures. Powerpoint is boring and inhibiting but it is ideally constructed for the rigors of a public lecture. So I've started rounding up my powerpoints and will begin to work on them again. Unfortunately, they take up so much space on a hard drive and I've got a lot of material. I have to get a new computer just to be able to handle it all.

I should think each chapter of Soul Century will have its own powerpoint presentation for public lectures. And that the chapters that will make up the book will be entirely different from the lectures because you can show a great many more pictures in a public lecture than you would ever want to put in a book, or that I would want to put in a book. You could have postage stamp pictures but I don't like those in books.

The reception for my work at Howard, despite my technical difficulties, seemed warm and enthusiastic and I was much heartened by the questions that were asked. They were as follows:

Does your family have re-unions. If not, you should because this is a great way to access further material. The answer to that is that we don't have family reunions because we have so little surviving family. Almost everyone is dead. It was not a prolific family so far as offspring to begin with and the death rate among the young men was high--my biological father, my Mom's oldest brother and my Mom's cousin Jimmy. Of MJ's two brothers, neither of them had children. MJ had the most children but they are all dead except Mom who has two children, my sister and I. I have no children. My sister has three children, all girls none of whom is married or who has any children.

Another question. Had I ever heard of any Posey's in Oklahoma City? No I haven't but Prof. B.B. Posey had 22 siblings and it seems as though they may have wandered far and wide so Oklahoma City would not be a surprising place for some of them to end up. It was one of the places blacks went at the turn-of-the-century in hopes of reversing their fortunes.

Another question. Am I interested in genealogies? Not so much as i am interested in learning about the pulse of our cultures and societies during the early through the middle twentieth century. The mixtures of the varieties of human personalities and how the children who are nurtured in them turn out is fascinating to me. Since I am less wedded to the precise genealogy of my family of origin, this frees me to include Burdette's (Dad) kinships and whatever else about their contemporaries that is interested in my picture of the century.

What has been happening is that I've started to get interested in Darwin's theory of evolution and the elaborate observations of plants and animals that led to them. I am interested in the human genome as well, and how surprisingly genetic variables can turn out in combination.

What happened to Earl? What happened to Andrew? They both died prematurely of drug overdoses, in 1966 and 1961 respectively.

The other thing that really struck me was how much work it would be to completely archive and digitize Faith's entire collection of family records. I am thinking perhaps it is too ambitious for me, not to mention my wallet, so I am going to stick to something I can handle--the book on the Soul Generation.


Photo Collection: Faith with her Mom

Faith with her Mom, originally uploaded by olympia2x.
I just love this picture of Momma Jones and Little Faith. Reproduced a lot but it is still great. About 1933.


Letter From a Birmingham City Jail by Faith Ringgold

Here are copies of all eight prints illustrating Letter from a Birmihgham Jail by Faith Ringgold. Beautifully photographed by my sister Barbara.

Photo by Star Black April 2008

Star Black Photo_8809, originally uploaded by barbaraco03.

Photo by Star Black April 2008. This is Mom at her most Santa Claus' brightest helper, Peter Pan-ish perfection at the event to celebrate the publication of the illustrated version of Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail. It is a limited edition of a few hundred, very expensive. Perhaps one day it will be made available to all in an inexpensive paperback edition. In the meanwhile, check your libraries.

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Michele Wallace

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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