From Prosecution to Presidency

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“A Great Grandson of Slaves Leads Grinnell College” reads the title of an interview on Iowa Public Radio with current Grinnell College President Raynard Kington. This block is centered around an image of Kington’s ancestors, forcing viewers to contemplate the journey from slavery to abolition. Though the 13th amendment may have legally abolished slavery in 1865, the path towards freedom has yet to be fully realized. To this day, the legacy of slavery is a prominent and undeniable feature of American institutions and identity. In this block, the artist used many embellishments and layered images to represent the many lenses and layers through which we examine our complex and overlapping histories. In some instances, stories obscure and silence others. In other cases, they bring new dimensions to known histories and help us re-examine our past. The artist’s hope is that this artwork will lead viewers to examine what lenses they might ascribe to their personal histories relating to slavery and abolition.