The NAACP’s 1935 exhibition, “An Art Commentary on Lynching,” and its use in anti-lynching activism represents a critical but often overlooked moment in American art history. In March 2022, The Block Museum hosted a special conversation about this historical exhibition, the intersection of art and activism, and connections to A Site of Struggle and our community today. The event included a lecture by art historian, visual artist and curator Margaret Rose Vendryes, followed by a discussion with Rev. Dr. Michael Nabors, senior pastor at Second Baptist Church, faculty member at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, and president of the Evanston-North Shore Branch of the NAACP.
The conversation moderated by Janet Dees, Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and curator of A Site of Struggle.
Watch the Discussion
About the Speakers
Margaret Rose Vendryes is an art historian, visual artist, and curator. She received her BA in fine arts from Amherst College, MA in art history from Tulane University, and Ph.D. in art history from Princeton University. In January 2022, she was announced as the incoming Dean of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Among several academic honors, Vendryes held an American Association of University Women Fellowship and was Scholar-in-Residence at Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In 2008, she published Barthé, A Life in Sculpture, the first comprehensive monograph on the late African-American sculptor Richmond Barthé. Vendryes also maintains an active studio practice. Her African Diva Project, a painting series that merges African masks with commercial images of Black celebrities, has been exhibited solo and in group shows since 2009. Photo credit: Anthony Barbosa
Reverend Dr. Michael C. R. Nabors is senior pastor of the historic Second Baptist Church in Evanston, Illinois, and a social justice advocate in Evanston and Metro Chicago. He also served as president of the Princeton and Trenton, New Jersey branches of the NAACP and is currently in his third term as president of the Evanston-North Shore Branch of the NAACP. Since 2019, Dr. Nabors has been part of the Steering Committee for Evanston Reparations, the first municipal reparations program in the United States, allocating 10 million dollars to Black Evanstonians to repair historical damages due to racism.
Dr. Nabors teaches Homiletics and Qualitative Research and Theological Writing at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. He served as Director of the Master of Divinity and Student Life Programs at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit where he was professor of Homiletics and African American Religious History. He has taught at Ashland Theological Seminary, Calvin Theological Seminary, and Marygrove College.