Social Conflicts in America

(left to right) Woman’s Rights, Gay Rights and Discrimination – each painting is 36" x 24" and painted in acrylic on canvas.
After completing The Movies and Music of Hollywood, I looked to wars and controversies that have adversely affected our country throughout its history. When speaking to a friend one day, we talked about the conflicts between the U.S. and other countries, the wars we’ve fought, and the disagreements we’ve had with our governance. With so many that I found it necessary to limit the conflicts to only social issues.

In 1789, James Madison introduced a series of 39 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Collectively, the first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, enumerated freedoms not explicitly indicated in the main body of the Constitution, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, a free press, and free assembly; the right to keep and bear arms; freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, security in personal effects, and freedom from warrants issued without probable cause.

Over 200 years additional amendments were added that have curtailed or expanded personal freedoms, but by and large, the Bill of Rights set a standard unprecedented in the world for guaranteeing freedoms to all people.

Despite the Bill of Rights our society has struggled with moral and human rights issues throughout its history. My series of paintings explores these conflicts and provides a nonjudgmental glimpse into the contrasts existing in our very diverse society.

When planning the canvas for Women’s Rights, I had already selected the six topics for my series. The struggle I faced was who and what to include and whom to leave out.  I settled on iconic 20th Century women who not only spoke out, but acted against female (and often human) repression.

Suffragists in the U.S. who advocated the extension of the franchise to women as a group may be seen at the bottom protesting for women's rights in about 1910.

Molly Brown (upper left), an American socialite, philanthropist, and activist who became famous after surviving the 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic, during which she exhorted the crew of Lifeboat No. 6 to return to look for survivors.

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks
(top right), an African-American Civil Rights activist, whom the United States Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.”

Gloria Marie Steinem (middle left) American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist who became nationally recognized as a leader and spokeswoman for the feminist movement in the late 1960s and early 70s.

Eleanor Roosevelt (middle right), wife of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, who besides being First Lady from 1933 to 1945, was an activist for human rights, a diplomat and a politician, and in 1999 was ranked ninth in the Gallup’s List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century.

The year 2020 celebrates the centennial year of women receiving the right to vote. According to the Pew Research Center, women today make up more than 50% of the electorate, but despite this monumental milestone, the gender gap is once again widening which is both perplexing and troubling to woman who have fought so hard for equality.

The Diverse Artistic Universe of George H. RothackerA Memoir is available at Amazon. Click here for paperback or Kindle version. Please review the book if you like it!

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