About the work:
Here I Come_The New Safe Negro Travel Guide 20/21
The woman in the painting is facing away from us, as she looks towards beginning her journey to a better future. The red at the bottom right side of her feet represents the blood of the South she leaves behind. She is surrounded by a field of green, combining the joy and hopefulness of yellow along with the sorrowfulness of blue.
While the Great Migration was a period of hope for a better future for Black people, the travel from the South to the North was not always safe due to segregation. Some hotels, fuel stations, restaurants, or rest areas would not accept Black people; leading to either an embarrassing or violent situation for those involved. This led to the publication of Victor H. Green’s, The Negro Motorist Green Book. The Green book contained a wide variety of businesses that were safe for Black people to patronize as they traveled through the US. The Green book was published from 1936 – 1966, becoming obsolete after the Civil Rights Movement.
“The Green Book” is in her left hand. However, based on the title of the work, we know this Green Book is a new 2020/2021 version. The gloomy idea of a possible new travel guide was conceived after the recent presidential elections. Even after all of the turmoil, hate, racism, and lies that were spread throughout the country by Trump, there were still a vast amount of people that voted for him within the red political states. Seeing the official United States map of the election results with its large number of red states that voted for Trump lead to the grim idea of the need for a possible new Green Book. However, the hope remains in the fact that love, respect, and peace still won the election.
There has been much progress in equal rights, justice, and respect for Black people in the United States, but there is still much work to be done. We see this notion of more work needing to be done within the hand (carrying the Green Book) of the woman in the painting. It is left unfinished as we all still have work to do, but it is our hope that will lead us to an equal and harmonious society.
Angie Redmond is a Chicago based artist. She is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting at Northern Illinois University (2021). She received her Master of Science degree in Digital Art from Knowledge Systems Institute in Skokie, IL and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art (emphasizing in oil painting) from Albion College in Albion MI. Angie’s artwork has been shown nationally in various museums, galleries, and universities. She was a finalist in the first Rush Philanthropies Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series in 2010, exhibited at N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art for the semi-finals, and exhibited in the Museum of Science and Industry’s Black Creativity (winning Best in Show in 2020). Visit the artist’s website.