Divide & Conquer is a limited-edition print project that was designed by Maureen Cummings with typographic assistance by Kathleen McMillan. To produce the printed pieces, multiple layers of text and imagery were hand silkscreened onto sheets of Arches Cover, then hand-colored. The images used for the prints are period photographs and engravings collected by the artist. Many of the portraits are reproduced by kind permission of the New York Historical Society & the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture.
The text of this project is excerpted from a manuscript that the artist discovered while in residency at the American Antiquarian Society in the fall of 2000. The handwritten pages, which numbered over three hundred in length, comprised the transcripts for a series of Congressional hearings held in 1871. The purpose of the hearings was to gain information about the activities of the group known at that time as the Ku Klux, a widespread organization that was responsible for a virtual reign of terror throughout the South in the decades following the Civil War. The transcripts bear witness not only to the horrific acts of the KK, but also to the way in which they divided a community along racial lines by targeting anyone who resisted their vision of racial separation and white supremacy.
Production was funded by the Experimental Printmaking Institute at Lafayette College, with additional support from The Friends of Skillman Library. All editioning was completed on site at EPI by Jase Clark. Special thanks to Curlee Raven Holton and Diane Windham Shaw for making this project possible.
On view in the Main Gallery as part of the th(ink)ing exhibition.