6 - 6
the new language
Wood, PVC panel, electronics and batteries
17 X 17 X 3 in. box; 8 X 24 X 1 in. sign | 432 X 432 X 76 mm box; 203 X 610 X 25 mm sign
Thompson Gallery, The Cambridge School at Weston, Nowhere Everywhere,
April – June, 2016
Delaware State University, A Commemorative of the Civil Rights Movement: 1964–1968
September – November, 2014
“Let’s Vote” is a conceptual mixed media art piece examining the racial segregation
and disenfranchisement of African Americans rights to vote in the South.
The Southern states oppression of African Americans would-be-voters was conducted by the methods of Jim Crow laws, poll taxes, literacy tests, economic retaliation, police repression and physical violence.
The literacy test was supposedly applied to both white and African American prospective voters who could not provide a certain level of education, but was actually disproportionately administered to African American voters. The white registrar would be the ultimate judge of whether an answer was correct. Example of a question asked of African Americans in Alabama: “How many bubbles in a bar of soap?”
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not eliminate the literacy test, but provided that literacy tests be administered in writing and only to persons who had completed six years of formal education and be applied equally to all races. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 suspended the use of literacy test in all states.
“Let’s Vote” addresses the inequality of the literacy tests and racial segregation of the right to vote in Southern states. A sign marked “white” and “colored” separates would-
be-voters for participation in the literacy test. The white applicant panel (left) has a
round peg that fits into the round hole, while a green light indicates PASS. The colored applicant panel (right) has a square peg that will not fit into the round hole, a red light indicates FAIL.
Delaware State University
© 2017 francis communications • firstname.lastname@example.org • Contemporary Artist, United States of America