Black Homes' Internal Lives - Liberty

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Black Homes' Internal Lives

Helen C. Maybell Anglin, Black Homes Owner, Zócalo, AphroChic,  ELLE Decoration, Black Homemaking

Helen C. Maybell Anglin

Black Homes Owner
Helen C. Mabel Anglin outside her home in Chicago's Chatham Park neighborhood, circa 1974. This house was a family business until last year. Chicago Sun-Times Media Company

FEFUM — Helen C. Mabel, the self-proclaimed "Soul of Southern Cuisine He's Her Queen," poses wrapped in black mink on the steps of a natural stone home on Chicago's South Side. It's her 1974, the house she commissioned architect Milton M. Schwartz in 1965, is as bold and inviting as its sculptural owner, with embedded porticoes. Big enough for her white baby to dwarf her piano.

Mabel Anglin died in 2009 and the house was her family's property until last year. Writer and real estate agent Bertina Power was called upon to provide expert opinion to those wishing to renovate and sell.

"I was like, 'I'm going to buy,'" she said. ”

Ms. Power is a black woman like Mabel Anglin and her entrepreneur, who is just under 1.8 million tall, has come to believe her ownership is destiny. I said no, but I doubt a house like that is flying under the radar right now.

After decades of neglect, Black Her Interiors — spaces designed for and by Black homeowners — are gaining renewed attention. They are documented and analyzed in publications, exhibitions, and research initiatives. Not everything is as striking or contemporary as Mabel Anglin's home, but overall it's the story of a black man seeking identity and comfort at home.

"The issue of black aesthetics is murky. I do significant geography research at Temple University. Malone once told a former Indianapolis resident, 'If someone walks into your house,' I've said, why do they say 'this is a black house'?"

"It's refreshing to see how people interpret it at home," she said as she and her research assistant Faith Lindsey looked at the 50 submissions. Or the kitchen, the wall of memories, and other things familiar to us. It makes sense. "

Writer and curator Catherine E. McKinley explore the country to capture similar personal and aesthetic moments in Letters from Home: The Art and Science of Black Home Making, due out next year by Bloomsbury USA. I have been touring.

"I have a love-hate relationship with interior books, so this book is about storytelling, it's about details and things that aren't easily spied on, it's not about an obsession with detoxified things."

The Art and Science of Black Homemaking

Black Homes Owner
Illustration by Valerie Avolker for "Letters from Home: The Art and Science of Black Homemaking" by Catherine E. McKinley. Valerie Abker

Illustrated by Valérie Aboulker, "Letters from Home" includes the birth and posthumous residences of artists such as Xenobia Bailey, Terry Adkins, and Sun Ra. Also included is the work of Chip Thomas, a physician who installs roadside murals and abandoned structures on Navajo land in Tuba City, Arizona.

Fragments near the house also tell the story of black homemaking.

Malone and McKinley's documents contrast visually with her 2006 Sheila Pree Bright's The Suburbia Portfolio, which is part of the collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Bright is an Atlanta-based photographer whose designs are typical of his interior designs.

"Visually he's a storyteller. A lot of the images always feel urban when it comes to our culture," said Bright. She said, "When he moved to Atlanta, he saw a lot of African Americans living in the suburbs.

Her photos soon began winning awards, but Bright realized that many white viewers couldn't overcome their internal stereotypes.

On the bookshelf was Debra J. Dickerson's 2004 manifesto, 'The End of Blackness: Returning the Souls of Black Folk: Returning Souls of Black Folk to their Rightful Owners.

The museum's curator, Michelle Joan Wilkinson, has been developing the design and architecture collection since 2016, sourcing artifacts and photographs of urban planning like Bright's.

The museum has acquired architects' archives and furniture designs, with particular emphasis on seating contemporary practitioners such as Jermaine Burns, Stephen Burks, and his architect David Adjaye, who designed the museum. I'm here. I am here. On display is his 1840 bed by Henry Boyd, a Cincinnati carpenter, and entrepreneur who patented the screw-fastening system. Muse's Den' is a padded red vinyl bar that was set up in the south side house in the 1970s and used as a speakeasy.

In her 2018 essay for Pin-Up magazine, Tiana Webb Evans writes about "People in Chairs." Seated Negro painting by Kelly James Marshall, Jordan Castile, and Kehinde Wiley. That same year, Wiley famously seated President Barack Obama in a fictional historic chair. Internet searches are lackluster at best." Pictures fill in the blanks.

The ELLE Decoration Cover

Black Homes Owner
The March 2022 cover of Elle Decor featured a collage by artist Mickalene Thomas.

One of her artists known for rendering spectacular and often sequin-encrusted interiors is Mickalene Thomas. The March 2022 cover of Elle Decor's The Art Collector's Home features her 2012 collage by Thomas, featuring floral sofas, acid footstools, and spring greenery from decades ago. characterized by vegetation. It evokes the rich and inviting mood found in black interiors that have been represented over the years.

In AphroChic: Celebrating the Legacy of the Black Family Home (published last year by Clarkson Potter), authors Bryan Mason and Jeanine Hays report: Stacey and Andre Blake's house in Fayetteville, North Carolina, which appears in the book, resembles the cover of Ms. Thomas (although the sofa is Clementine and the walls are Cerulean).

The freedom to buy a home anywhere, the means to decorate it to your liking, and the time to relax there are hard-won privileges for black homeowners.


Black Homes Owner
AphroChic Interiors: Celebrate the traditions of black family homes. Clarkson Potter

These dreamy interiors sometimes carry a political punch. On the March 2021 cover of Elle Decor, the magazine's first black editor-in-chief, Asad Syrkett, tells Detroit artist Rachelle Baker, 20 I asked you to famously tell me that you asked me to recreate the Yellow Room of the century. Nancy Lancaster, master of decoration of the century.

“The best interiors are about the aesthetics of the people who live there and the story of how they live in the world,” says Mart.

Mr. Lancaster grew up in pre-Civil War Virginia. Read her biography and you'll find out. Her father was a domestic worker and a cotton broker in what she called "a large family". On either side of the table in her original room are the so-called Black Her Moore carvings on the hands and knees that support the top of the table.

"How do we begin to rationalize this depiction of coercion?" Mr. Marset asked.

A yellow cover of Mr. Baker, a black woman sitting in a room conducting. She strikes up a conversation about labor.

In her book Midcentury Modernism and the American Body: The Politics of Race, Gender, and Power in Design, published by Princeton University Press in 2021, design historian Christina Her Her Her Wilson Is Race I am looking for and gender.

The Ebony Test Kitchen

Black Homes Owner
The Ebony Test Kitchen is part of the exhibition 'African/American: Making a National Table' hosted by the Food and Drink Museum. Timothy Smith

Ms. Wilson included many ads from the era of a white woman tending a suburban home alone. It was a source of social agency," she writes. Saarinen's famous chair is happily on display. His CBS graphic designer George Olden in Black sits and hangs out with friends in Queens.

Ebony and its founders John and Eunice Johnson sponsored some of the most famous modern black interiors of the 20th century. The stunning ebony test kitchen was designed by Arthur Elrod and William Reiser for the company's offices in Chicago. Food and drink museum collection.

When the Johnsons asked Elrod and Reiser to design an apartment on North Lake Shore Drive, they said:

Traces of its exterior can still be seen today in houses such as Bertina's Powers. The spirit of the home's original owners, who hosted Martin Luther King Jr., Mahalia Jackson, and Muhammad Ali, can be seen through the large living room, multiple sliding doors that lead to the stone deck, and the remains of the home talk to the full bar downstairs. This is a place of celebration.