"Up from Down Home:" a particular--and universal--story about the Black migration north.

Updated: Jul 21

I went to the opening of Evanston artist Jevoid Simmons' art exhibition on Friday night and highly recommend it. It's in the Parasol Room at the Civic Center through October 18. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Here's a short video I made at the opening that explains the exhibit, which tells Jevoid's family's migration story from Alabama to Iowa in the 1950s.

Through carved wooden figurines and folk-art paintings with beautifully written accompanying narratives, Jevoid describes the day his father got into an altercation with his white boss, how the KKK threatened their family, how a white neighbor reached across the color line to warn the Simmons family of imminent danger, and how his father sold a cow for $60 to fund their hurried departure for the North.

"As artists, there's a responsibility--if you have the ability to do some things, whether its written or whatever it might be, if it helps [make change] you should be putting it out there," Jevoid says.

"Art has meaning. When I tell a story, I want other people to understand. Elders should be telling the stories that existed. It may give you things to feel proud of. Or it may make you feel humble. Stories are important, and shouldn't be lost in time."

Read more here.


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