“Each and every one of us has the capacity to be an oppressor. I want
to encourage each and everyone of us to interrogate how we might be an
oppressor and how we might be able to become liberators for ourselves
and for each other.” Lavern Cox
I envisioned creating a photographic
exhibit to acknowledge and honor Franklin County African American
women, who had nurtured and encouraged me throughout my youth and
throughout my expanding career.
I approached a few of these friends explaining my idea as being a
collection of portraits. Each photo would be accompanied by an
inspiring quotation from an African American historical woman chosen
by the person being photographed. The simplicity of the idea was that
there had rarely been an art exhibit anywhere dedicated exclusively to
women of color. It would be entitled “Black Girl Magic.”
I invited select community leaders to view the
evolving exhibit. Again strong endorsement was received especially by
the Franklin County Coalition for Progress (FCCP). Their President,
Noel Purdy, with Mr. Whitley’s acquiescence, approached
Chambersburg’s Coyle Free Library for hosting the exhibit in the
recently completed multi-million dollar expansion. Without hesitation
the library was delighted to host the expanded exhibit.
(The final exhibit has 29 photos including five pair of mothers and
Ms. Purdy chaired a GoFund campaign to pay for the
printed portraits, associated printing costs & a community reception.
And the Library agreed to extend the viewing of the exhibit through
March 31, acknowledging Women’s History Month. Within days more
than two-dozen contributors led by the Rotary Club of Chambersburg’s
Foundation exceeded the financial goal.