20th century america

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Plates from Vol. 2 of Fantaisies Florales by Jean Pilters, published in the first decade of the 20th century in Jersey City, New Jersey by H.C. Perleberg

Jean Pilters was a little-known French ornamentist. Apart from publishing several pattern books in France and Jersey City, he also contributed to the publication Dekorative Vorbilder published from 1889-1929 in Stuttgart by Julius Hoffmann.

This volume is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Watson Library. These images are my own personal scans of the book.

A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory … A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.
—  Jorge Luis Borges, “A Note on (Toward) Bernard Shaw” (from Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings, trans. James E. Irby)
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Plates from Vol. 2 of Fantaisies Florales by Jean Pilters, published in the first decade of the 20th century in Jersey City, New Jersey by H.C. Perleberg

Many of these flower studies were not done by Pilters but by his colleagues. Plates 3, 5, and 9 are copies of plates from Die Pflanze in Kunst und Gewerbe by Anton Seder, published in two volumes in Vienna by Gerlach and Schenck (1886 and 1889).

This volume is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Watson Library. These images are my own personal scans of the book.

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Nichelle Nichols (B. 1932)

Born in Robbins, Illinois, Nichols got her start on the stage in 1961 with Oscar Brown's Kicks and Co., a musical satire about Playboy magazine. Ironically, this drew the attention of Hugh Heffner who was so impressed with her, he booked her in his Chicago Playboy Club. While still in Chicago, she performed at the “Blue Angel”, and in New York, Nichols appeared at that city’s Blue Angel as a dancer and singer. She also toured with Duke Ellington and in addition to her acting and singing work, Nichols did some modelling. 

Out of all of her accomplishments, her biggest and arguably most important role was that of Lieutenant Uhura in Star Trek. Through this role, Nichols was the first black woman on a major television series who did not play a servant; the prominent supporting role as a bridge officer was unprecedented. Her groundbreaking work on Star Trek not only inspired such actresses as Whoopie Goldberg (and, in turn, Lupita Nyong'o) to pursue their careers, but also inspired astronaut Mae Jemison who became the first African American woman in space.

After the cancellation of Star Trek, Nichols volunteered her time in a special project with NASA to recruit minority and female personnel for the space agency, which proved to be a success.[16] She began this work by making an affiliation between NASA and a company which she helped to run, Women in Motion.[17][18][19][20][21][22]

Those recruited include Dr. Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, and United States Air Force Colonel Guion Bluford, the first African-American astronaut, as well as Dr. Judith Resnik and Dr. Ronald McNair, who both flew successful missions during the Space Shuttle program before their deaths in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. Recruits also included Charles Bolden, the current NASA administrator, and Lori Garver, the current Deputy Administrator. (X)

The De Loys Ape

In 1920, the last four survivors of a twenty man expedition led by Swiss geoloist Francois De Loys to a remote forested region on the Colombian-Venezuelan border returned with this photo of an alleged South American ‘ape’.

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The Philosophy of GET OUT – Wisecrack Edition

There are few films as clever in their depiction of racial tensions in America as Jordan Peele’s social thriller Get Out. While most movies that focus on race take aim at those who overtly try to disenfranchise minorities, Get Out does something unique: it explores how the demeanor of white liberals who have supposedly “moved beyond racism” may not be as authentic as they may think. By drawing on black thinkers and philosophers, we explore how Get Out is a masterful depiction of the black condition in 20th Century America.

Today’s prison system should be abolished because it is a system predesigned and constructed to warehouse the people of undeveloped and lower economical communities. Under the existing social order men and women are sent to prison for labor and further economical gain by the state. Where else can you get a full day’s work for two to sixteen cents an hour, and these hours become an indeterminate period of years. This is slave labor in 20th century America … Our only hope lies in the people’s endeavor to hear our protest and support our cause. Building more and better prisons is not the solution – build a thousand prisons, arrest and lock up tens of thousands of people; all will be to no avail. This will not arrest poverty, oppression, and the other ills of this unjust social order …. We need people who will stand up and speak out when it is a matter of right or wrong, of justice or injustice, of struggling or not struggling to help correct and remove conditions affecting the people, all I ask is that the people support us, I will break my back in helping bring peace and justice upon the face of the earth. I’ve seen too much injustice to remain mute or still. The struggle against injustice cannot be muffled by prison walls.
—  John Cluchette | As printed in Angela Davis, “If They Come in the Morning” (1971)