‘Scottsboro Boys’ artist to speak Saturday
BROCTON — The LARC Program of the Ahira Hall Memorial Library presents the exhibit “Nine American Boys: Portraits of the false accused Scottsboro Boys” by Alice C. Pennisi.
The artist/educator and speaker, Alice Pennisi, will discuss her work and lead a dialogue and reflective activity that connects these boys’ lives and experiences to our contemporary world: Saturday, March 10, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Dr. Pennisi, the chair of Buffalo State’s Art Education Department, uses portraiture as the means to investigate human rights issues. Here, she has painted each of the falsely accused Scottsboro Boys as graduates, based on photos taken at their arrest or imprisonment. We are asked to consider the nine as individuals with potential if only they had been given the opportunities so many of us have had. The artist will lead a dialogue and reflective art/writing activity that connects these boys’ lives and experiences to our contemporary world.
Pennisi pays tribute to nine African American youths who were falsely accused of raping two white women in Alabama in 1931. Although eight of the nine were sentenced to death, international protests resulted in their release over a span of almost 20 years.
Pennisi painted portraits of boys as if they were school portraits, showing their youth and innocence.
“I want visitors to consider how we treat not only teenagers, but particularly male youth of color,” Pennisi wrote in the program summary of her exhibit. “I also want visitors to know that these ‘boys’ were nine individuals with potential if given opportunities so many of us were given.”
The Ahira Hall Memorial Library is located at 37 W. Main St., Brocton. LARC supports Literacy in Arts, Reading and Culture at the library.