ArtRage: The Norton Putter Gallery

505 Hawley Avenue Syracuse, NY

WITHIN OUR GATES: Site and Memory in the American Landscape

April 19, 2018 12:00 pmtoMay 19, 2018 4:00 pm
WOG-raynard johnson-webRaynard Johnson: Pecan Tree; Parents’ Front Lawn; Kokomo, Mississippi © 2002 Keith Morris Washington

KOKOMO, Miss., Jun. 28 — A black teenager who was found hanging from a tree in his front yard in what investigators ruled a suicide may instead have been lynched for dating two white girls, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Tuesday. Jackson asked Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and the U.S. Justice Department to launch an investigation into the death of 17-year-old Raynard Johnson.

Standing under the pecan tree where Raynard’s body was found by his father June 15, the civil rights leader said that the death “had the smell of Emmett Till all around it. Till was a black teenager killed in Mississippi in 1955 for supposedly whistling at a white woman. “The two young white girls and Johnson had been dating each other; that did not sit well with some people,” Jackson said.

The Marion County coroner’s office concluded that the honor student took his own life. (excerpt from newspaper article)

Kieth Morris Washington head shot

“The practice of human sacrifice, known as lynching, has been carried out openly, as a public social ritual, in the United States from the very founding of the Republic. Within Our Gates: Site and Memory in the American Landscape is designed to inform a broad audience about this phenomenon of lynching as human sacrifice within the context of the “landscape”. The term lynching faded from popular usage with the advent of the 1960’s civil rights movement. However, death by lynching is still exercised today as evidenced by the murders of James Byrd, Jr., Matthew Shepherd, Billy Jack Gaither, and Raynard Johnson. Only the taboo nature of this ritual has changed.” – (excerpted from Keith Morris Washington’s artist statement.)

Basic Black Contributor Talia Rivera sits down with acclaimed artist Keith Morris Washington to discuss his new series of paintings addressing lynching, entitled “Within Our Gates: Human Sacrifice in the American Landscape. Watch the interview.

EXHIBITION SPONSORS:
Diane Cass & Tim McLaughlin, Diana Cramer,
Mark Feldman & Chris Riley, Deirde Neilen
Leon & Rosemary Oaks-Lee, Carole Resnick
and Ann Tiffany & Ed Kinane

Become an Exhibition Sponsor!
A donation of $100 will list you as an exhibition sponsor.