One of the works from James Pate's "Kin Killin' Kin" exhibit
From now until April 29th, the National Civil Rights Museum will be showing works by artist James Pate that compare black-on-black violence to the violent acts of the Ku Klux Klan. But the local chapter of Black Lives Matter has called the exhibit "morally and intellectually dishonest."
Black Lives Matter will hold a protest outside the Civil Rights Museum on Thursday at 6 p.m., the same time artist Pate will be doing a meet-and-greet with those viewing the exhibit inside the museum.
Pate's charcoal drawings portray young black men donning KKK hoods or committing acts of gun violence. Cincinnati native Pate, who is black, has said that his work was inspired by conversations he'd had in his own community, in which people had pointed out similarities between gang violence and the KKK's racist brand of violence.
But a press release issued by the Memphis chapter of Black Lives Matter disagrees with that comparison.
"Comparing 'black on black' crime to the KKK, a domestic terrorist organization, is morally and intellectually dishonest and has nothing to do with the history of the Black freedom struggle that is showcased in the National Civil Rights Museum. To equate the KKK to a group of people who have been enslaved, segregated, and degraded into second-class citizenship is callous and outright offensive. Moreover, this exhibit fails to address the root causes of crimes in predominately Black neighborhoods, which is that crime is a reaction to a lack of resources," read the press release.