The T-Shirt seems to be that one fashion statement that never goes out of style. Whether your favorite is AC/DC or Tupac everyone has a favorite T-Shrit or two inside their closets. We recently caught wind of a T-Shirt line that went viral for it’s unique approach to discussing racial issues in America and the importance of Black History and African History.
Zerflin.com a company that produces Films recently launched a movement #ButSlaveryWasOhSoLongAgo and we decided to interview him about his brand and what inspired the T-shirt slogan that even Willow Smith has embraced Zerflin
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Where did the idea come from?
We were commissioned to create a piece of art that gives an account of America’s history of slavery, originally as a tattoo to go around someone’s wrist. This graphic tattoo is a timeline that highlights key points in Slavery of the African Diaspora in America. A timeline that is too very often dismissed and disregarded.
What does “But Slavery was So Long Ago” mean?
We’ve heard this quote over and over throughout the course of modern American history. In an attempt to urge Black people to “move on” and to recognize just how good they have it in America, this dismissive and tone-deaf statement attempts to transform relatively recent history into ancient history or myth.
However, when looking at this graphic, it is very clear that American slavery and segregation was not so long ago. In fact, it is still possible to have conversations with many African Americans who have vivid memories of Jim Crow South and the racist and subversive practices in the North.
America cannot escape its past. This country’s history is stained with the blood of thousands and its foundation built on the backs of enslaved men, women and children. America’s complete history cannot be told without including the horrors of slavery and its long-lasting effects.
For this graphic tattoo, here’s what we included:
1619: Arrival of “20 and odd” Africans in late August, on an English warship the “White Lion.”
1865: Slavery abolished in the United States of America.
1954: Supreme Court Declares School Segregation Unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education.
The dates were chosen as landmarks for when the law changed. It’s to serve as a reminder that slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation were all perfectly legal. Just because something is the law does not make it right.
Why did you make this?
We believe that history is important and that all Americans, Black and white, have the responsibility to make sure that history is not forgotten. It’s only by recognizing our past and doing the work to make reparations that we can truly move forward.
Why were these colors chosen?
The colors; Red, Black, Yellow, and Green, are colors used in PanAfrican symbolism and design. As the client is an African American, we wanted to represent that history and culture in the colors themselves as they wrap around the wrist.
Can I get this as a shirt?
You bet, and as posters! If you are a teacher or educator, 50% of your order will be refunded to you.
Check out the T-Shirt line and other Zeriflin designs at ZeriFlin.Com’s BSWSLA section and be sure to follow them on all social media at @Zeriflin