Commemorating Arlington’s Civil Rights History

Project Details

Artist: Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.
Materials: Eco-friendly chipboard, oil-based inks, handset metal and wood type
Location: Various
Date: 2019-2022 

From 2019 to 2022, Arlington Arts visiting artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. worked to bring awareness to Arlington’s civil rights history with a focus on the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Stratford Junior High School (2019) and the 60th anniversary of the lunch counter sit-ins (2020).

Mr. Kennedy made seven letter pressed cards to honor the 60th anniversary of the seven lunch counter sit-ins that took place in Arlington between June 9–22, 1960. The sit-ins were peaceful protests that challenged widespread segregation policies. In 2021, to pay tribute to this history, Arlington Arts placed a stand at many of the original sit-in locations where commemorative letter pressed cards could be collected. 

In 2022, Mr. Kennedy recreated the letter-pressed cards into a portfolio of larger prints on archival paper. Arlington’s Lunch Counter Sit-ins Commemorative prints are currently on view at Bozman Library (open to the public March 13, 2023) 2100 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201. The prints are also in the Library of Congress and the Center for Local History, Arlington Public Library's public collections. 

Mr. Kennedy creates prints, posters and postcards from handset wood and metal type, oil-based inks, and eco-friendly chipboard. Much of his work is inspired by proverbs, sayings, and quotes that are significant to the place where he is working.   

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This project was organized by Arlington Public Art and the Arlington Art Truck, programs of Arlington Arts in collaboration with the County’s Historic Preservation ProgramArlington Public Library’s Center for Local History and Arlington Transit’s Art on the ART bus program. The community partner for this project was the Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, Virginia