The Underground Railroad is a well-known aspect of African American history. Slaves would follow the Drinking Gourd (the Big Dipper) as a guide to lead them to the north. Runaways would travel at night and mostly during the winter season so the could avoid slave trackers.
I first heard about the story of Ellen and William Craft on an episode of The Dollop Podcast . Ellen was the illegitimate child of and was so light skin she was mistaken for white. She and her husband, William, Escape From Slavery by disguising Ellen as a injured white man and William posed as Ellen slave. Though their journey Ellen made sure to only allow William to speak for her so that her voice would not give them away and wrapped herself in bandages to hide in plain sight. The two took multiple trains from Georgia to Philadelphia, successfully escaping to their freedom. Smithsonian magazine wrote an article on their story. I encourage you to read it.
I hate driving. Every time I get behind the wheel, I don’t know if I will make it home. Every time a new video about police brutality released, I cry and have to work up the courage to drive so I can complete any errands I have.
The purpose of this painting is to make an impersonal piece of personal information personal again. Think about it, when you look at someone’s license if doesn’t really tell you who they are as a person. It doesn’t tell you their interests, their relationships, or their hobbies. A license, or most IDs, give other people a free pass to make assumptions about who you are as a person. For me personally, this can lead to racial profiling that can have life or death consequences.
Since making this painting, it’s actually sparked a lot of conversations with people on campus. I attend what some might considered to be a conservative school. I mean, they try to be accepting and such, but this is Texas. There is only oh so much the school can do. Anyway, the general response has been positive. People on campus seem to like my reasoning for making this painting. I’ve decided to make this a series and do the licenses of different people. I plan on asking one of my best friends and my boyfriend’s mother. If I can do this right, then I can help other minorities like myself show people that we’re really not that different from them.