Famed cathedral names artist to replace Confederate windows

Sep 22, 2021, 7:29 PM | Updated: Sep 23, 2021, 9:10 pm
Artist Kerry James Marshall, who has been selected to design a replacement of former Confederate-th...

Artist Kerry James Marshall, who has been selected to design a replacement of former Confederate-themed stained glass windows that were taken down in 2017 at the National Cathedral, stands in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. The Cathedral has also commissioned Pulitzer-nominated poet Elizabeth Alexander to pen a poem that will be inscribed in the stone beneath the new windows. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Washington National Cathedral announced Thursday it has chosen contemporary artist Kerry James Marshall, renowned for his wide-ranging works depicting African American life, to design new stained-glass windows with themes of racial justice that will replace a set with Confederate imagery that were removed in 2017.

The landmark sanctuary said in a statement that the four windows will tell “a new and more complete” story of the nation’s racial history. Poet Elizabeth Alexander will write a poem to be inscribed in stone tablets alongside the windows, overlaying older ones that venerated the lives of Confederate soldiers.

The project is expected to be completed by 2023.

The windows will replace a set that honored two Confederate generals, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, with saint-like reverence and had included a Confederate flag. The cathedral removed them in 2017, prompted by a larger national reckoning over Confederate imagery and white supremacy in the wake of deadly right-wing attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia, that year and in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. The window openings have been covered with plywood since 2017.

The setting is particularly significant in the massive neo-Gothic cathedral, which is filled with iconography depicting the American story in glass, stone and other media, with images ranging from presidents to famous cultural figures and state symbols.

The cathedral, also the seat of the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop and Diocese of Washington, regularly serves as the setting for ceremonies tied to major national events.

In replacing the windows, the cathedral acknowledged a need to correct what it called a “false narrative of what America once was.”

The old windows “were a barrier to our mission and impediment to worship in this place, and they had no place being in sacred space,” the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of the cathedral, said in a Thursday news conference.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the cathedral to not only create beautiful art but to stake a claim about what and who we value,” he added.

Marshall, who made his first visit to the cathedral this week, said it’s too soon to say what the new windows will look like.

“It was really important for me to come here and really get a sense of what the place is, what’s already here, what the mission they’ve tried to accomplish is, and then how I might be able to fit whatever it is the cathedral needs in order to fulfill its ambition for these windows … into that space,” he said at the news conference.

He noted that the cathedral set a “monumental” goal of having the windows depict the pain as well as the dignity of “the African-American struggle for justice and equality.”

“This is something that’s actually going to take a lot of time, because history itself, as most people know, is a very complicated narrative,” he said.

Hollerith called Marshall “one of the greatest artists of our time” and praised Alexander as “one of our nation’s most eloquent and compelling voices.”

This will be Marshall’s first work in the stained-glass medium after a long and acclaimed career using a variety of media to create portraits and other works depicting Black life. Marshall was a MacArthur Fellow in 1997.

Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation, recited one of her poems at the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama and has published multiple books including Pulitzer Prize finalists.

She said in a statement that she was honored to be part of the cathedral’s “effort to ensure that those who worship within its sanctuary know that it is truly a space for all people, and that the stories relayed through its sacred walls, windows and other iconography represent the truth of our nation.”

The cathedral has loaned the Robert E. Lee window to the National Museum of African American History and Culture for a new exhibit, “Make Good the Promises: Reconstruction and Its Legacies.” The museum said the window represents the “myth-building and the nationwide intimidation of African Americans through the embrace of Confederate symbols.”

___

Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Timothee Chalamet, left, and Charlotte Rampling ...
Associated Press

Despite hybrid release, ‘Dune’ draws well on the big screen

NEW YORK (AP) — Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” debuted with $40.1 million in ticket sales in its opening weekend in North America, drawing a large number of moviegoers to see the thundering sci-fi epic on the big screen despite it also being available to stream in homes. Warner Bros. launched the Legendary Entertainment production simultaneously in […]
1 day ago
The Bonanza Creek Film Ranch is seen in Santa Fe, N.M., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021.  An assistant dire...
Associated Press

Crew member who gave Baldwin gun subject of prior complaint

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A crew member says she has raised safety concerns in the past about the assistant director who authorities say unwittingly handed actor Alec Baldwin the prop gun that killed a cinematographer on a film set. Crew member Maggie Goll said in a statement that she filed an internal complaint with the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Philadelphia-area transit union authorized to call strike

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Workers for the Philadelphia-area transit system have voted to authorize a strike next month if an agreement isn’t reached on a new contract. The Transport Workers Union Local 234 said a voice vote at a Sunday morning meeting in south Philadelphia approved a motion to allow union leaders to call a strike […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021 file photo, British singer Ed Sheeran attends the first ever E...
Associated Press

Ed Sheeran has COVID, will do performances from home

British pop star Ed Sheeran said Sunday he has tested positive for COVID-19 and will do interviews and performances from his house while he self-isolates. Sheeran, 30, broke the news on social media days before his new studio album is due out. “Quick note to tell you that I’ve sadly tested positive for Covid, so […]
1 day ago
Migrants, mostly from Central America heading north, sleep on the ground in the Alvaro Obregon comm...
Associated Press

2,000 migrants continue walk through southern Mexico

HUEHUETAN, Mexico (AP) — A group of about 2,000 mainly Central American migrants continued their mass exodus from the southern Mexico city of Tapachula Sunday, reaching a town about 16 miles (26 kms) away. Migrants walked in the early morning, starting out before dawn, to avoid the burning heat. Mostly from Honduras and El Salvador, […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Twitter suspends Indiana Rep. Jim Banks’ official account

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Twitter suspended an Indiana congressman’s official account after removing a post about a transgender Biden administration official over a violation of the social media company’s rules. Twitter’s action Saturday came after Republican Rep. Jim Banks posted tweets last week regarding Dr. Rachel Levine becoming the first openly transgender four-star officer […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Famed cathedral names artist to replace Confederate windows