For Love and Freedom is a bust of my grandfather in the style European aristocrats favored of themselves. He is shown in business attire taken from a photograph of him. He met his future bride, Belva, in NYC. She was Canadian & white. He was very light skinned Black. They would not have been able to marry in the US because of the anti-miscegenation laws. In 1900, Booker T. Washington summed up the practice:
“It is a fact that if a person is known to have one percent of African blood in his veins, he ceases to be a white man. The ninety-nine percent Caucasian blood does not weigh by the side of the one percent African blood. The white blood counts for nothing. The person is Negro every time.”
Instead, my grandfather & his fiancé, sailed to London, where they were married on May 17th, 1910. They settled in France and had five children. This was his chosen exile & where he created a new narrative of belonging.
All images copyright Jocelyn Braxton Armstrong