Rights and Wrongs: Challenging the 19th Amendment Centennial Celebrations is an exhibition of local Baltimore artists whose works address issues of citizenship, civil rights, and democracy. These artists will be commissioned to research in the Baltimore City archives, make new work, and present their works locally within the context of the 2020 election cycle. The exhibition will be held at Carroll Museum in downtown Baltimore in March of 2020 (women’s history month). The local artists who have been tapped to make this work are: Antonio McAfee, Erin Fostel, Deyane Moses, and McKinley Wallace III.
This proposed art exhibition queries mainstream narratives as the centennial of the 19th amendment approaches in 2020. These narratives typically frame the suffragettes in white exclusionary terms, primarily focusing on the benchmarks achieved by white women’s efforts to vote. Such celebrations erase the challenges to white authority by people of color since the beginning of America’s democratic exercises, particularly in the 19th century. These cycles of celebration and erasure were ongoing in the 20th century as men and women of color increasingly secured, and then exercised, their right to vote.
Rights and Wrongs is an exhibition will interrogate this centennial in light of the fact that equitable voter participation is hardly settled in America. Ongoing issues of citizenship, belonging, and democratic participation have been and will continue to be at stake as we enter the 2020 election cycle. Other relevant themes: Voting rights for the formerly incarcerated (which Maryland secured in 2016), immigration and voter participation, voter ID laws, and gerrymandering. Of interest are the physical sites and visual record of this history in Baltimore City, making connections in the present for local citizens in how civil rights and voter access has evolved (or not) within the historical timeline.
Funded by Baltimore, MD (August 2019)