In this video, Dr. Jonathan Michael Square, assistant professor of Black visual culture at Parsons School of Design, fellow in history of art and visual culture at the Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and creator of the digital humanities platform “Fashioning the Self in Slavery and Freedom,” takes a closer look at the Anna Monument. 

Responses from Visitors 

“Artifacts such as this provide witness to the the truth, and at least stimulate inquiry. In the Colfax cemetery, there is erected an Obelisk a memorial to 3 whites who died during the massacre. It has etched in stone ‘Fell in the Colfax Riot fighting for White supremacy’. Perhaps but for this exhibition, the innocent souls who suffered would never receive justice. They were indeed denied justice by the US Supreme Court in the 1876 decision of U.S. vs. Cruikshank. the decision overturned the federal convictions of several White citizens convicted in federal court for depriving the Black victims of their constitutional rights.”

“It was surprising and gratifying to see this artist’s depiction of a little known event in American history. It gives historical context to current events. Thank you for displaying it!”

“It’s important to showcase objects like this especially when, next door, tours are given in du Pont’s house that praise George Washington but don’t include how many enslaved people he and Martha owned. Collection and museums have a racist history, so conflicting and controversial figures like this one need to be included.” 

“Thank you for this exhibit. Especially at this time when so many government institutions are trying to repress the information and truth about our past, such exhibits are invaluable to our understandings and democracy.” 

“Wow I’m glad it survived. It is so sad and stunning that even those with progressive attitudes portrayed Black people as happy smiling folks in rags.”