J usticeAid believes in justice and the power of art to bring us together in the fight for a more equitable nation and world. This year, in parallel with our fundraising for Black Voters Matter, each month we will highlight Black artists in order to uplift those whose voices have been muted, and whose visions can help us all see ourselves as we really are, and as we could be.



Glenn Ligon is an American conceptual artist whose work explores race, language, desire, sexuality, and identity. He is known for creating large, text-based paintings in which a phrase chosen from literature or other sources is repeated continuously. In Double America, with its skewed perspectives, Ligon seems to be questioning the idealism of a landscape, in this case, a country—“by shining a light that’s eclipsed at the same time.”

Listen to a brief audio interview with the artist and read his profile in The New York Times magazine Greats issue.

Ligon’s work is held in the permanent collections of museums worldwide including Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His awards and honors include a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the Studio Museum’s Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize. Most recently, Ligon was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Pictured above: Photo of the artist (Widewalls) and Double America, 2012, Glenn Ligon, National Gallery of Art, Gift of Agnes Gund

Music: Dwayne Wiggins

“They’re not hanging us by ropes but they’re cutting off everything else around us,” reflects R&B artist Dwayne Wiggins, on an encounter he had with the police in Oakland, California. In “What’s Really Going On (Strange Fruit)” (Eyes Never Lie, 2000) Wiggins draws parallels between African Americans’ contemporary experiences of discrimination and the enduring pain of racism, using two sources of inspiration: Marvin Gaye’s anthem to justice and peace, “What’s Going On,” and “Strange Fruit,” the anti-lynching protest song popularized by Billie Holliday.


Freedom Summer takes a look back at the Summer of 1964, when more than 1000 student activists, organizers, and local African Americans took segregated Mississippi by storm, registering voters, educating citizens about their rights, and forcing the media to take notice of the injustices prevailing in the state. Directed by Stanley Nelson, from PBS American Experience (2014). 


​​​​​​​“We are sick and tired of being sick and tired.” — Fannie Lou Hamer

These words, said by Mississippi sharecropper Fannie Lou Hamer who was brutally beaten for registering to vote, encapsulated the enduring pain and frustrations of Blacks in 1960s America.  In the oppressive South, Mississippi was known for its spectacular brutality towards Blacks.  The leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) recognized that the vote was the only way to effect systemic change and in 1964 launched a statewide effort to register Black voters in Mississippi, bringing in nearly 1000 volunteers during “Freedom Summer.” Those efforts ultimately increased voter registration in Mississippi from less than 7% to over 60%.

Black voters mattered in 1964, and Black Voters Matter today.

Suppressed Speech

PHOTO OF IBRAM X KENDI: Boston University


Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi (left), and a graphic history edition by Kendi and illustrator Joel Christian Gill (right).

Racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation’s racial inequities, argues historian Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist.  Using the life narratives of key thinkers from Cotton Mather to Angela Davis, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is a National Book Award-winning author of fourteen books for adults and children, including nine New York Times bestsellers—five of which were #1 New York Times bestsellers. Dr. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News racial justice contributor.

In 2020, Time magazine named Dr. Kendi one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world. He was awarded a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the Genius Grant.

Pitch in today.

Your donation to JusticeAid will support Black Voters Matter’s fight against voter suppression.

Join the family.

Read up on JusticeAid events and our support for Black Voters Matter.