On June 27, the Center for Black Deaf Studies received a piece of art titled “Freedom,” by retired English professor Barbara Hardaway. This was a gift from the late Marcia Beth Bordman, another retired English professor. Dr. Carolyn D. McCaskill, ’77, G-’79, & PhD ’05, founding director of the Center, accepted “Freedom”.

Hardaway's artwork of different patterns with black lines across.

Dr. Hardaway is a Black multimedia artist in painted collages, assemblages, and in photography. “Freedom” depicts the Emancipation postal stamp. Dr. Hardaway wrote of “Freedom” that “The word ‘free’ is obscurely seen…as a metaphor for our unclear [obscure] path to actual freedom and equity. The black lines represent the challenges and barriers evident in our aspirations to be free.”

Close up of Hardaway's artwork, showing the text " Henceforward Shall Be Free, Proclaimation Abraham Lincoln" stamp.

Dr. Bordman, who died on June 17, was a long-time social activist. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on the legal rhetoric of the infamous 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case, which established the doctrine of “separate but equal.” She also participated in civil rights struggles of the 1960s and collected art on the Emancipation. Writes a retired colleague, “It seems fitting that her burial took place on Juneteenth.” Contributions in her memory may be made to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights or the New Israel Fund.

Earlier this year, the Center for Black Deaf Studies received gifts of several other Barbara Hardaway paintings from Dr. Barbara J. White, ’76, and Dr. Bruce A. White, and from Dr. Judith L. Mounty, G-’03, and Robert B. Weinstock, ’76 & G-’83. The Center has an impressive, growing collection of art by Black Deaf and Black artists.

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