I created “19th Century Stereotypes vs. 19th Century Reality” to plant seeds and serve as an example that African Americans (and all people of color in the United States) walk in intelligence, creativity and, humanity. Given the current disinformation and outright lies concerning people of color (and their allies) who actively demonstrate for social justice, 19th Century Stereotypes vs. 19th Century Reality is presented here to expose, as well as, to remind the viewer of America’s racist history regarding people of color. As reflected in the historical images here, African Americans continue to have to battle with and resist hateful ideas based in ignorance and/or bias regarding where our ‘place’ is supposed to be in this society.
Jonette O’Kelley Miller is an independent art historian and art consultant. She recently co-curated the “Black Lives Matter” exhibition as part of the Black Renaissance Festival at the Ann Street Gallery in Newburgh, NY and was the guest editor of Vol.30.2 of The International Review of African American Art. Her chosen theme was “The Evolving Imagery of The Black Woman.” She has taught the History of Graphic Design, and African American Art History at both St. Thomas Aquinas and Nyack Colleges, respectively. Her current research addresses the impact of historical, racist stereotypes on people of color: African Americans, Chicanos, and Native Americans.