With its potent depictions of racial violence and African American empowerment now more palatable to the mainstream, the explicit political content in Faith Ringgold’s early work is increasingly de rigueur. For some, its visceral message seems to match the complex feelings of rage, discomfort and empowered self-representation wafting throughout the zeitgeist, alongside discussions on gender equality, structural racism, white privilege, economic disenfranchisement and so on—conversations Ringgold was having with a group of black intellectuals and activists in the 1960s, continuing a lineage of thinkers from Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass to Harriet Tubman and Marcus Garvey, among others. Yet, Ringgold’s interests have taken her elsewhere in 2019. “I spoke about what I had to say at the time I had to say it,” are about the only words she wants to share regarding those early years.
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