The inspiration for the art piece, US History (forgotten), was a realization of the gaping holes in basic American history that I was never taught in school. It began with the assembling of a collage of portraits I had oil painted. Some were pinned into place, others sewn to the canvas with needle and thread – intentionally reminiscent of an American patchwork quilt. I quickly discovered that standing by itself the artwork would barely scratch the surface in telling the story I wanted to tell. This led to my building this website to accompany the artwork to share some of the basic U. S. history that has been "forgotten" by so many generations.
I am a painter, not a historian, and for the key sources of my research I sought out physical archival documents and materials to serve as credible evidence of past events. Ironically, the U.S. Library of Congress archives and preserves the mother lode of artifacts from our "forgotten" history: documents, manuscripts, photos, posters, engravings, letters, speeches, proclamations and more.
History paints a picture informing us on how we got to where we are today - even if we choose not to tell our true story in school text books. The reality is that we live with our past. Generations have tried, but we just can't put it behind us. As a society, it is essential to acknowledge difficult history and address persisting wrongs that come about from misdeeds of the past. As dark and painful as U.S. history can be, the benefits of righting historic wrongs and achieving real equality for every American make learning and teaching our U.S. history well worth it.
For additional resources: Reading lists for adults - with a separate list for teaching children - are found on the Resources page. Books in specific topics appear at the end of each section. Organizations and services are listed on Resources page Also on this site are first-person accounts telling unique family stories.
Many thanks for your interest in: www.ushistoryforgotten.com. It will remain a work in progress, with new content continually added, so please keep checking back.
About the art piece:
US History (forgotten) is a 4x4 foot collage of oil paintings on canvas along with mixed media. (Feathers, leather, twine, thread, ribbon, fabric, rice paper, wire, cotton bolls, sewing pins, safety pins, paper clips, binder clip, paper tag and duct tape. 48 x 48 inches (121.9 x 121.9 cm)
About the art piece:
US History (forgotten) is a 4x4 foot collage of oil paintings and mixed media on canvas. (Oil paint, canvas, feathers, leather, twine, thread, ribbon, fabric, rice paper, wire, cotton bolls, sewing pins, safety pins, paper clips, binder clip, brass nail, paper tag and duct tape.
48 x 48 inches (121.9 x 121.9 cm)
Many are surprised that Columbus never set foot in North America. Columbus deserves credit as being the father of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, with its extreme violence. Why do we have a US national holiday in his honor?
Where did our indigenous people go? Some history books try to whitewash US history by attributing it to disease. It is startling to learn the hateful and callous words, even by some of our most revered US presidents, documenting the genocide.
Inhumanity hits rock bottom: Slave ships.
Hundreds of landmark US.buildings, universities and churches were built by the literal blood, sweat and tears of slaves. Even the White House. This free labor was provided because many US founding fathers accepted, practiced and defended racial slavery.
Most Americans don't know that the Civil War was fought over slavery. The Confederacy's founders even spell it out in historical documents. Why don't textbooks and schools teach it?
Arguably America's first great heroes. The truly courageous Underground Railroad risked everything to provide freedom and liberty for all.
Emancipation was proclaimed, but freedom was still denied.
California's Jim Crow laws restricted civil liberties and rights of Asian Americans: due process, employment, education, holding office, marriage, voting, owning property, where you could live, segregation, etc.
An earlier version of children in cages. The US government issued a “compulsory attendance” law authorizing federal officers to forcibly take Native American children from their parents and adopted them out to white people.
Tulsa had a thriving, prosperous black community - until police annihilated it. Why do history books fail to mention this 35 block massacre and bombing?
Three of the four men carved on Mt. Rushmore were slaveholders. Jefferson alone enslaved over 600 human beings in his lifetime, including 4 of his own children. For thousands of years, this land belonged to several tribes of Sioux. After the discovery of gold, the US broke the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie and forced the tribes off the land. All four white men carved in granite supported Native American genocide. The sculptor who did the carving had KKK ties. Who are the heroes of this story?
No history is mute. No matter how much they burn it, no matter how much they break it, no matter how much they lie to it, the history of man refuses to keep its mouth shut. The time that was is still beating, alive, within the time that is. Even if the time that is does not want it or does not know it.
No hay historia muda. Por mucho que la quemen, por mucho que la rompan, por mucho que la mientan, la historia humana se niega a callarse la boca. El tiempo que fue sigue latiendo, vivo, dentro del tiempo que es, aunque el tiempo que es no lo quiera o no lo sepa.
- Eduardo Galeano
Uruguayan journalist, writer, champion of social justice
Stars and Stripes
Installation (canvas, granite, wood, hemp)
5 x 9'
Look beneath the history of our country ... What we choose to ignore will never go away.