For several months, I worked with leaders and students of a rite of passage program as part of The Delaware Contemporary‘s Teaching Artist on-the-Go program. We learned about the life of the church’s founder, Peter Spencer and held workshops in printmaking, painting, creating silhouettes, and finally, collage and design. Written and illustrated by our group, with layout and design by Jen McVeigh and Aztec Printing and Design, copies are being delivered tomorrow to the MAUC and The Delaware Contemporary in time for Art Loop Friday, August 6, 2016. Illustrations from our residency workshops, as well as copies of our book are an exciting part of Grand Vocabulary: Contemporary American Illustration, curated by John Shipman, Director of The Delaware Contemporary.
Press On tells the story of Peter Spencer, founder of the Mother African Union Church, the oldest independently incorporated African American Church in the United States. Born into slavery, Peter Spencer found his way north as a teenager where he was educated, and became inspired to unite and empower his community through faith. When you begin to understand that a man (Peter Spencer) born into slavery, studied the very new American Constitution, and, despite the racism of the time, stood up to exercise his right to free speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly, you may just understand that today, in this time, you can stand up and make a difference.
The above text is taken from the back cover of the book and is a timely and relevant reminder of the work we still need to do together.