Combating White Supremacy

Museums are fraught with white supremacy. In this exhibition, there were many of instances of us needing to combat the continued and prolonged history of white supremacy.


The available mannequins in the museum were all made of white fabric. Therefore, while we would have liked to use these mannequins as is for ease and time, we decided to cover all of the mannequins in different fabrics to represent the variety of skin colors of Black women.
Most of the images currently used in the catalog are the original mannequins. We decided to cover the mannequins after dressing all of them during installation. After the exhibition was de-installed, we had planned to re-take the individual-object photos with the updated coverings and then update the catalog with these new images. However, COVID-19 prohibited us from doing so safely.

Garment Availability

In this exhibition, we wanted to feature garments of Black women. However, in the museum’s collection, there were very few documented examples available of Black women college student’s fashions. Therefore, 100% of the garments are on loan so that way we could tell this history.

Institutional Review Board

The Institutional Review Board approved all of the data collection methods prior to interviewing the women featured in the exhibition. During this standard process, we requested that the participants be able to share photographs of themselves that “reflected pride in their Black identity.” In this experience, the IRB reviewer asked that we include a clause that the “women not include any images with illegal imagery.” We questioned why this clause was needed indicating that this would assume illegal behavior of Black people and the IRB reviewer reverted their request and approved our methods without the proposed clause.



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Collegiate Fashion and Activism: Black Women’s Styles on the College Campus Copyright © 2019 by Dyese Matthews and Kelly L. Reddy-Best is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.