SYNTHIA SAINT JAMES
Although artist Synthia SAINT JAMES was only a teenager when the March on Washington occurred, she still felt the impact that the march and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s crusade had on African-Americans.
“I was in Los Angeles in the 1960’s and I felt excitement and fear and hopefulness,” said SAINT JAMES, 64. “I felt a connection through Angela Davis and what she was doing and I appreciated the people who were willing to sacrifice.”
The March on Washington took place on Aug. 28, 1963. Organized by civil rights, labor and religious organizations, the march fought for jobs and freedom for Blacks. It became known as one of the greatest political rallies for human rights.
An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 people—60,000 of them Caucasian—converged on Washington, DC by rail, air, car and bus. The march included several days of peaceful protests, sit-ins and culminated with Dr. King delivering his infamous “I Have a Dream Speech,” which advocated racial harmony, at the Lincoln Memorial.
So when she was asked to create a work of art to help celebrate the march’s 50th anniversary, SAINT JAMES immediately jumped at the chance.
SAINT JAMES created a whimsical, uplifting work of art called “The Dream.”
“I wanted to focus on the multi-cultural children in Marin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream speech,’” she said. “There is a lot of poetry in the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech and bringing something like that to life is exciting to me. It’s different. The dream has become more encompassing. It’s about people coming together, singing and rejoicing. That’s how I interpreted the speech, but I want people to use their own imaginations and find what they believe the key elements of ‘The Dream’ is.”
SAINT JAMES is a world-renowned visual artist whose art graces the covers of more than 70 books. She is also an award-winning author and illustrator of 17 children’s books, author of a audio biographical art marketing book, three poetry books, a book of affirmations and a cookbook.
Los Angeles’ native daughter is most celebrated for designing the first Kwanzaa stamp for the United States Postal Service in 1997, for which she received a History Maker Award. SAINT JAMES focuses on multi-cultural figurative paintings and also delves into painting seascapes, landscapes and butterflies.
She considers “The Dream” one of her best and most creative works of art.
“I want people (who lived during the time) to remember and for those who don’t know about the struggle and the march, I want them to learn and celebrate it all the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “
(Prints of “The Dream” can be purchased starting at $200 by visiting ST. JAMES’ web site at www.synthiasaintjames.com.)
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