Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold

Activity 1: Creative Visualization

Faith Ringgold is a famous artist, teacher, and activist. Her work addresses her experience as a Black woman living in America. Tar Beach is inspired by Ringgold’s own life, recalling the time that she spent on the rooftop of her home with her family while she was growing up in Harlem. This book refers to her artwork, a quilt called Woman on a Bridge #1 of 5: Tar Beach. 

Ringgold sees the women in this series as “actually flying; they are just free, totally. They take their liberation by confronting this huge masculine icon, the bridge.”

The main character Cassie Louise Lightfoot finds personal empowerment by flying around her neighborhood and claiming ownership of the buildings around her, which are structures that represent power.

Take a moment to find a quiet place, either inside or outdoors. Lie down or get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes and imagine yourself floating upwards into the sky. Fly around your neighborhood for a while. What do you see? Are there any landmarks you can recognize? Buildings that you know? What do you want to make yours? How do you feel while you’re flying? What words would you use to describe that feeling?

Activity 2: Window Quilts

Learn more about a print of a quilt that we have in our collection, Forever (For Old Sally) by Loretta Pettway Bennett and make your own.