LESLIE BERNS
BOOKMARKS for a MIXED RACE NARRATIVE: Who Could and Couldn't Marry Whom (Tonal)

2015
cut paper, collage
22" x 30"
Portraits and text from a document titled "Anti-Miscegenation Laws of the Several States: 1932" are re-contextualized and graphically displayed as "bookmarks" which in turn convey the architecture of such laws.

Four out of five of the "bookmarks" frame copies of portraits* of individuals designated "Negro", "Mulatto", "Quadroon", "Octoroon", "1/16 Composite 'Pass for White American Type' ", each for whom it was illegal, including "Malay" (Asian) and "Indian", to marry "Caucasian". In the fifth "bookmark" there is no portrait, only text, which states "No Negroid Mixture, All-Caucasian Descent".

*Portraits Courtesy of Harry H. Laughlin Collection, Special Collections Department, Pickler Memorial Library, Truman State University
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