Celebrating Black History Month with Mosaics by June C.

At Piece by Piece, we are fortunate to have many talented artists. Today, June C. is sharing her perspectives on Black History Month and highlighting some of her mosaic portraits of African American Icons.

Mosaic art is a great way to celebrate Black History Month as it allows us to create stunning visual representations of the accomplishments and struggles of African Americans. The medium of mosaic art has been used to memorialize and honor the work of iconic African Americans such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman, as well as many others. Mosaic art can also be used to celebrate the victories and milestones achieved by African Americans throughout history, and to recognize the beauty and diversity of the African diaspora. Through the use of mosaic art, we can honor and share the stories of African Americans and recognize the importance of their contributions to our culture. Below are some portraits made by June, and her thoughts on each one of them accompanied by a brief bio on each of these African American Icons.

All of these portraits are currently available for purchase on the Piece by Piece Website.

Senator Lewis marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the height of the civil rights movement. As a little girl, I remember watching him march on the pedestrian bridge in Selma, walking respectfully hand in hand with Dr. King and others. He was the last and the youngest of the big six civil rights activists I watched march with my family on black and white television. I saw first-hand the abuse he endured from the police that struck him.  I still cry when I think about the sacrifices he endured. He had the guts to stand up for basic rights. Mr. Lewis always stood up for the acts of civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health care reform, and immigration--things we are still fighting for today. Exactly 50 years ago Mr. Lewis' memory is still a living testimony to his bravery and tutelage under Dr. King. My Family, like others, believe America is the greatest country on earth, yet She needs to be reminded of Her promise. Mr. Lewis's last example to the people before he passed, especially to the youth, was that sometimes it is necessary to get into Good Trouble. The man gave his life leveling the playing field for black people and others as well. Like Dr. King lamented, if you can't stand for something, you’ll take anything. He has been a pillar for me when I see my life now. 

Sarah Vaughn was a consummate musician, like her predecessor, Ella Fitzgerald. Sassy Sarah’s voice is distinct and one of a kind. Ms. Vaughn was a gifted composer and lyricist - one who put her heart into her music. She speaks to the heart and soul of (life) which resonates to conscious human beings. Sarah Vaughn was played a lot in my humble beginnings. Sarah was born in Newark, NJ. A lot of talented people were born in New Jersey, including Malcolm X. Sarah’s songs stem from her chaotic upbringing. The story of her life is interesting to me because she dropped out of high school to pursue a music career at the young age of 18. She reminds me of my mother who dropped out of school to work and support a family. Sarah Vaughn - just the sound of her name is so sophisticated, and her smile was worth everything that blooms. Sadly, her life was short. Sarah Vaugh played with some of the greats like George Treadwell the trumpeter who became her manager. The song “Nature Boy” speaks volumes to me. 

I love Maya Angelou, she was such a survivor of life. As a you girl she endured abuse and even was raped by a family member. Maya wrote books, my favorite is respectively a must read: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Maya’s poetry is from life experiences and it also highlights her love for her brother, Bailey Johnson. I admire her love for her siblings through life struggles as a poet laureate and writer. Maya spoke at President Clinton’s inauguration. Her message was to hold on to democracy as is vital to our society and all people have a right to the tree of life. Maya Angelou’s message for women in a poem called the Phenomenal Women, reaches out to women who need to know their value and worth. Long live these Icons. 

A voice that really resonates. The sound of his words, strong and powerful! Mr. Porter’s deep baritone voice and his lyrics are both powerful and soul-soothing. He reminds me of greats like Oscar Peterson, a jazz musician, and the great Paul Robinson who sang Othello and was exiled from America due to racism. Gregory Porter songs are brilliant, especially the song “Lion Call” and “Be Good” are reminders to me to act and be the best person I can be. His is a voice that moves people’s souls and his universal messages connect and unite people. 

Thank you June for sharing your words and your mosaics! 


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1 comment

  • Wonderful portraits and I love reading about your memories and what you admire about each of your subjects. Amazing work June!

    Luz on

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