On February 6, 2011, Atlanta artist, Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier unveils an installation that brings together descendants of slaves and slave owners connected to the origins of Emory University. “Unraveling Miss Kitty’s Cloak” is a site-specific sculptural installation which remembers Catherine Andrew Boyd, an enslaved woman who was also known as Kitty. James Osgood Andrew, first president of the Emory Board of Trustees enslaved Catherine Boyd in the early 1800s. In 1844 the Bishop’s ownership of Miss Kitty and other slaves split the Methodist Episcopal Church along regional lines. The incident is considered a rehearsal for the Civil War.
Linnemeier, working as artist-in-residence in the Oxford, GA community spent months talking to the African American community, documenting their oral history and combining it with research from her collaborator and cultural anthropologist Dr. Mark Auslander (Brandeis University) Dr. Auslander has extensively researched Emory University’s historical connections with slavery, resulting in the forthcoming book, “The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of the American South” (University of Georgia Press, 2011). Dr. Auslander observes, “Lynn Marshall Linnemeier’s extraordinary art work, developed in close consultation with the descendant families of Oxford, is an important milestone in the liberation of Miss Kitty’s story. Lynn’s project moves the narrative of Miss Kitty’s life outside of the framework of ‘white’ mainstream history towards a more inclusive re-imagining of historical experience, honoring the many voices, and the many ancestors, that are at stake in this complex, unfolding story.”
This project falls as the United Nations has declared 2011 as the International Year of Peoples of African Descent, and the United States recognizes the 150th Anniversary of the onset of the Civil War. Emory also celebrates its 175th Anniversary in 2011, by hosting the conference, “Slavery and the University: History and Legacies”, Feb. 3-6, 2011. As Emory hosting the conference publicly expresses its “regret” for its “entwinement with the institution of slavery,” this project will remember the story of Catherine Boyd. Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier’s work weaves together the varied histories of Oxford while unraveling myths of race, identity and entitlement in the south. On February 6, 2011, the public installation of “Miss Kitty’s Cloak” will bring together the descendants of both Catherine Boyd and Bishop James Osgood Andrew and other ancestors from this small southern community to remember those gone before.
To learn more about “Unraveling Miss Kitty’s Cloak” and other JOURNEY Projects or to learn more about the work of Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier, visit MissKittysCloak.wordpress.com
For more information, contact: Charmaine Minniefield, Ori Productions, 770-334-1301