The Marquis de Lafayette Meets the President of Law & Order

As a kid who grew up in 1960s Sacramento, a relatively integrated town back then, we all had such high hopes. I graduated from high school in 1965, portrayed quite accurately in “American Graffiti.”

In our large high school, I saw de facto segregation in the form of three levels of instruction: X, Y & Z. Nevertheless, I thought we, meaning our diversity, pretty much “got along.” But in my upper middle class affluence, I was wrong.

Years later I ran into a fellow at my art supply store. “Sac High ‘65?” I asked, “Did I know you?” From under his Vietnam Vet baseball hat, festooned with pins, he looked me up and down and said, “You wouldn’t have known me; I was fighting in the streets with chains.” Sac High had gangs, he explained. I’d had no idea.

Turns out he had quite a notorious and enthralling past. Though I was overcome with the curiosity of my minor journalistic role as an Op-Ed contributor to the Sacramento Bee, I’ll respect his privacy here. I will say that despite his challenges, he overcame all to become a college art instructor, and artist, and that’s was united us: our love of making art, and our persistence to maintain that passion. It’s all that should matter.

My career in art has been that of a visual historian, usually in the form of life sized figures on large walls. I’ve never really been an illustrator, but in 2017, I had an opportunity to illustrate a graphic interpretation of “Frankenstein.”

Thus, recognizing a monster disguised as a peace officer, murdering a man live on video, shook me to my core. The first drawing I made was panel 2 below, focused on the knee, the hand in pocket, and George Floyd. I made the second drawing, panel 1, the next day, and as each hideous day passed, I drew panels 4, 5 & 6, closely examining Washington Post video. Then I started to think about the implication and symbolism such events happening in Lafayette Square. Having majored in history at UCLA, with an emphasis on the political philosophers, I drew panel 3, completed June 2020.

A few rejections later, and with passing time, I set the drawings aside. This format, Medium, gives me an opportunity to share.

Please note attribution to the Washington Post for all their incredible video.

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