The Arts Can Truly Change the World

Posted on October 11, 2011 by


When most people hear the quote, “Knowledge is power” they likely think of two things: Sir Francis Bacon, the person who made the quote famous, or education.  We all acquire knowledge through personal experiences and some type of formal education (if we’re lucky).  When it comes to formal education, textbooks used in the elementary school systems in America omit several important facts about American history.  Mainly, the works, trials, and tribulations of African American’s and the history associated with our ethnic group.  Most of the people who experienced true slavery and not just injustice are dead. History has shown us that things which should not be forgotten are often erased out of “history”.  For example, everyone has heard of slavery but has anyone ever placed themselves into the shoes of a slave?  If you’ve ever wondered what it was like first hand, The Federal Writer’s Project might be for you!

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the
Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938

contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500
black-and-white photographs of former slaves.

If you’re an African-American, the one way we keep our history going is through stories passed down from generation to generation so that we don’t forget.  For many, out of sight does mean out of mind.  If history is erased, then history will inevitably repeat itself.  Think about this:

How do you teach children the whole American story — from
the violence to the racism to the slavery — when so much of it deals with the
very things parents try to shield kids from? That’s the challenge illustrator
and author Kadir Nelson takes up in his new book, Heart and Soul: The Story
of America and African-Americans
. Nelson’s
book tracks the history of America and African-Americans from Colonial times
through the civil rights movement, and he tells the story in a voice that was
inspired by the people around him.

“Try as hard as you can and one day you could be…”, or “…you change the world!”  Almost everyone in the world has heard those sayings before, yet most people don’t live up to the potential that those saying hold.  Fellow students, let’s follow the “golden hand rule” of economics and help ourselves by being all we can be, like the army.  As the rule states, we will help change the world.  In life you’re never too young to be heard. If you don’t believe me, see for yourself:

The soft-spoken Nelson has accomplished, before the age of thirty, many
things. Nelson earned a Bachelor’s degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and has
since created paintings for a host of distinguished clients including Sports
Illustrated, The Coca-Cola Company, The United States Postal Service, Major League Baseball,
and Dreamworks SKG where he worked as a visual development artist creating
concept artwork for feature films, “Amistad”, and “Spirit:
Stallion of the Cimarron”
. Many of Nelson’s paintings are in the
collections of notable institutions and public collections, including the U.S.
House of Representatives and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as in
the private collections of actors, professional athletes, and musicians. Nelson
has also gained acclaim for the artwork he has contributed to several NYT
Best-selling picture books including his authorial debut, “WE ARE THE SHIP:
The Story of Negro League Baseball”, winner of the Coretta Scott King and
Robert F. Sibert Awards, and was
published by Disney/Hyperion in the
spring of 2008. Currently, Nelson’s cover artwork is featured on the album “MICHAEL”,
by the late pop singer icon Michael Jackson.