February is an alternative perspective on the constructions of black history month.
As a response to the notion that black history can only be discussed, celebrated, and analyzed within a 28-day period, February proposes the question, “What Happens if The Month of February Never Ends?”
In his writings on history, Walter Benjamin reverses the commonly held belief that history is and remains located in the past, asserting rather that the vanishing point of history is always the present moment.
February promotes the notion that historical consciousness may be attained or experienced through atypical and unconventional modes of representation, or that it is best encountered and taken in outside of the typical confines of normality.
Pushing back against the status quotes reliance on a fixed account of history, this exhibition offers its viewers an opportunity to celebrate blackness outside of its predetermined duration.
Lorenzo Baker’s February project started on February 1st, 2017 and is centered around a daily practice of creating and distributing reinterpretations of historical and contemporary images. These depictions showcase the nuanced and multiplicated definition of the black diasporic experience. The artworks are created by combining and collapsing an array of appropriated images from the everyday, lesser known historical incidents, pop culture iconography, and depictions of outer space.
AYE TURN THAT SHIT UP!
Muhammad Ali, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, Mary Wells, and Ronnie Spector
After Learning about the Jim Crow South, The Harlem Globetrotters, Scooby Doo and the Gang travel back in time to fight Lynch Mobs and the Klu Klux Klan.
The anti-lynching movement was a civil rights movement in the United States that aimed to eradicate the practice of lynching. Lynching was used as a tool to repress African Americans. The anti-lynching movement reached its height between the 1890s and 1930s.
A large part of the movement was composed of women's organizations. Such as Ida B. Wells, Mary Burnett Talbert, Angelina Grimké, and Juanita Jackson Mitchell
The movement was composed mainly of African Americans who tried to persuade politicians to put an end to the practice, but after the failure of this strategy, they pushed for anti-lynching legislation.
On January 4th 1935, senators’ democrats Edward P. Costigan and Robert F. Wagner together worked and set out a new bill that stated “To assure to persons within the jurisdiction of every state the equal protection of the crime of lynching.” The bill was made with many sections to which protected people from all types of lynching crime.
Frank Wills was the security guard who alerted the police to a possible break-in at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.. His actions eventually led to the discovery of the truth about the Watergate scandal and led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974.
On the night of June 17, Wills noticed a piece of duct tape on one of the door locks when he was making his first round. The tape was placed over the latch bolt to prevent the door from latching shut. He removed the tape and continued on his patrol. Thirty minutes later, Wills came back to the door and he noticed there was more tape on the door.
Without hesitation, Wills rushed up to the lobby telephone and asked for the Second Precinct police. Five men were found in the DNC offices and arrested. Details that emerged during their questioning and trials triggered the Watergate scandal.
One story reports that after the Watergate break-in, he received a raise of $2.50 above his previous $80 per week. Another story states he wanted, but did not receive, a promotion for discovering the burglary.
Sometime after the botched burglary, Wills quit his security job at the DNC headquarters and found another security job that paid him a little bit more money, but the second security job was still not enough to live on so he had to leave that job as well.
Over the next 20 years, Wills struggled to establish and maintain roots and stability while suffering bouts of unemployment.
He shuttled between Washington and other southern cities, with some time spent in the Bahamas. He said in an interview that Howard University feared losing their federal funding if they hired him.
In 1992, on the twentieth anniversary of the burglary of the DNC headquarters, reporters asked if he were given the chance to do it all over again, would he? Wills replied with annoyance, "That's like asking me if I'd rather be white than black. It was just a part of destiny."
That same year, Wills told a Boston Globe reporter, "I put my life on the line. I went out of my way. . . . If it wasn't for me, Woodward and Bernstein would not have known anything about Watergate.
This wasn't finding a dollar under a couch somewhere." Wills was quoted saying, "Everybody tells me I'm some kind of hero, but I certainly don't have any hard evidence. I did what I was hired to do but still I feel a lot of folk don't want to give me credit, that is, a chance to move upward in my job.
African-American baseball legend Jackie Robinson had an older brother, Matthew, who won a silver medal in the 200-meter dash at the 1936 Olympics. He came in second to Jesse Owens.
Later in life, he was known for leading the fight against street crime in his home town of Pasadena.
"Happy Birthday" is a 1981 single written, produced and performed by Stevie Wonder for the Motown label.
Wonder, a social activist, was one of the main figures in the campaign to have the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. become a national holiday, and created this single to make the cause known.
The song, one of many of Wonder's songs to feature the use of a keyboard synthesizer, features Wonder lamenting the fact that anyone would oppose the idea of a Dr. King holiday, where "peace is celebrated throughout the world" and singing to King in the chorus, "Happy birthday to you".
The holiday, he proposes, would facilitate the realization of Dr. King's dreams of integration and "love and unity for all of God's children".
Wonder used the song to popularize the campaign, and continued his fight for the holiday, holding the Rally for Peace Press Conference in 1981. United States President Ronald Reagan approved the creation of the holiday, signing it into existence on November 2, 1983.
The first official Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, held the third Monday in January of each year, was held on January 20, 1986, and was commemorated with a large-scale concert, where Stevie Wonder was the headlining performer.
Although the single failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100, it charted on the R&B chart, and it became one of Wonder's biggest hits in the UK, reaching No.2 in the charts in August 1981.
Black History Month originated in 1926 by Carter Godwin Woodson as Negro History Week. The month of February was chosen in honor of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, who were both born in that month.
Frederick Douglas was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writings. In his time, he was described by abolitionists as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.
The exact date of his birth is unknown, and he later chose to celebrate his birthday on February 14.
In his first autobiography, Douglass stated: "I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it."