Robinson’s Republicanism, coupled with the fact that he was a high-performance athlete who believed in objective measures of merit and the validity of competition, explain why he hated the idea of lowering standards for Blacks. In this regard he is not different from Wynton Marsalis, Albert Murray, Ralph Ellison, and the late Stanley Crouch.
Mothers sewed these quilts when everyone else was asleep, so there was no time to fuss over the details. For batting, they beat the dirt out of trash cotton or swept the floor of the cotton gin. Quilts were women’s work, therefore practical and unquestioned. How were these women to know, tucked into a paper-clip curve of the Alabama River with scant access to the rest of the world, that their quilts echoed the best and most daring modern art?
This photo, like so many of those in Michael Eastman’s beautiful, moving, beguiling, maddening collection, transmutes history into timelessness. The house stands alone outside of time. It is a token of the past detached from its actual and ongoing social history.
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