"Witches were most feared in slave quarters.
During the day she was flesh and blood, but at night she shed her human
skin and became a shadow who rode her victims. When she finished her
evening ride, she stepped back into her skin and assumed her human form.The
only recourse for the victim was to wait until the witch took to riding
again, find the skin she had shed, and sprinkle salt on it. The lore
of the quarters held that a skin treated with this could not be reentered,
and the shadow, or witch's spirit, would have to wander forever..."
-Deborah Gray White, from Arn't I a Woman / Female Slaves in the
Utilizing whips, bleach, salt, a chain and pile of wool, and skin from
my own body, I seek to explore the nexus of our inherited racism, the
pain and tragedy of America's history of slavery, sex and race mythology,
my position as a white woman, constructions of blackness and whiteness,
the whip as both a serious weapon and an erotic tool, deliberate historical
moral miasma, rediscoveries of meanings, salting, and the circle as
a symbol of various African ceremonies of honoring their ancestors,
burial rituals, and dance patterns.
"Well, chilern, whar dar is so much racket der must be something out
of kilter. I tink dat twixt de niggers of de souf and de women of de
nouf all a talking bout rights, de white men will be in a fix pretty
-Sojourner Truth, 1851
"For Truth, both racism and sexism mediate against democracy."
-Deborah Gray White, Arn't I a Woman, Female Slaves in the Plantation