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Dusable Museum's KKK Exhibit

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Dusable Museum's KKK Exhibit

A Ku Klux Klansman in a car points a gun at the head of passing black man. The Klansman’s face is contorted in an adrenaline rush as he pulls the trigger and the bullet leaves the barrel of the gun. The victim is not a person, however, but an historic carved figure from the West African nation of Benin--a symbol of black history, lineage and pride. And the Klansman, in full headdress, is not a white southerner in the 1960s, but a present-day young black man. The searing black and white image comes from a provocative exhibit by artists James Pate that opened last Saturday at the DuSable Museum of African American History. Called “Kin Killin’ Kin,” Pate creates a series of scenes of black-on-black violence, with the perpetrators dressed in some form of Klan regalia. Said Pate: “It is often said that we, in a ‘strange-fruit’ kind of way, are doing that business of the KKK with our Black-on-Black violence. I was moved to use art as a means to illustrate this sentiment, complete with brothers in pointed hoods in the ‘hood.’ Every piece is a moment of silence and dedication to all people who have to deal directly with our losses.” As violence shapes the public discussion in Chicago this summer, what role can the arts play in that discourse. In studio we have Carol L. Adams, CEO of the DuSable Museum; Rapper Che Smith, better known as Rhymefest. (Photo: Flickr/ David Shankbone)

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