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A Murder of Crows The End Hate Collection

“If you’re not held back by society’s expectations and rules, and you’re not afraid, you are free to create from the soul.” - V.L. Cox

Acknowledgements A very special thanks goes out to Julia J. Norrell, my friend, mentor, collector and adviser who has patiently guided me over the years on this incredible path of growth, discovery, and creativity. Without her, this series would have never happened.

Copyright 2016 - VL Cox, All Rights Reserved ISBN 978-0-692-72284-8

V.L. COX A MURDER OF CROWS The End Hate Collection

“Cox has taken some of the historical artifacts of discrimination, tweaked them a little and given them a platform, reminding all of us of the burdens that so many people have faced and continue to struggle against.� Bill Worthen Museum director and historian

Front Cover - 2016 Murder of Crows Exhibition, New Deal Studios, Little Rock, AR

“Artists are not usually comfortable on the frontlines of social activism and political action. The studio where the dynamic frustration of creation takes place is the more secure environment. Driven by a heart-felt personal response to what she sees in our society, VL Cox has left the studio with the End Hate series and has taken her stand.” - Bill Worthen, Museum director and historian, 2016 “She wants to counter the bombardment of misinformation — from what she says is a new journalism that is motivated by profit, and goads, rather than informs, the viewer — with simple truth.” - “V.L. Cox’s ‘Murder of Crows’ tackles hate head-on” - Leslie Peacock, Arkansas Times, March 3, 2016 “Especially powerful: White Bread, one of Cox’s screen door creations showing a child in a Ku Klux Klan robe, a teddy bear in one hand. It tears at the heart as it reminds us, as Oscar Hammerstein II wrote in his song “Carefully Taught”  -  “You’ve got to be carefully taught to hate…” Cox read about an Arkansas KKK camp for children, which inspired the work.” - Ellis Widner, “Exhibits pushed barriers in ’15,”  Arkansas Democrat Gazette, January 3, 2016   “And to make sure people saw the doors, she took them not only to the steps of the state Capitol (twice) but to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. recounting the stories of the people whose acquaintance she made there — notably, the former skinhead with swastikas on his forearms who’d given up a life of hate because he loved his transgender son — she says she’d come to realize the importance of standing up for what’s right, of making a difference and using her work to engender change and remind others they can stand up, too. Because, as she says, it just takes one person to stand.” - Jordan Hickey, “2015 Arkansan’s of the Year,” Arkansas Life Magazine, December, 2015   “VL is one of those special spirits that once you invite them into your world nothing else is ever the same. Thankfully it is reflected so well in her art that it influences people without ever knowing her name.” - Greg Henderson, “Artist Spotlight,” Rock City Life, April 8, 2015


V.L .COX I use authentic, historical objects and materials in my work. In a world where we can’t remember what we had for lunch yesterday, uncomfortable social and historical events are often quickly dismissed and filed away in the recesses of our busy minds. Antiquated metal, dented and rusted with time, well-worn fabric, and vintage advertising signage all have a story. They connect us, and their familiar appearance, feel and even smell create a primal tactile sensory experience that awakens our memories. They remind us of the lessons we have forgotten, and once again need to learn by eliciting diverse conversation about community civil rights and social issues addressing our society today. My goal in the End Hate series is to engage viewers responsibly in a dialogue no matter how uncomfortable. By truthfully looking in the mirror at ourselves we take the first step in accepting the fact that we are all part of the link that needs to be repaired. Cox received her BFA from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. She has created large backdrops for organizations including the Dallas Opera, the Dallas Ballet, Los Colinas Film Studio, and the National Civil Rights Museum Humanities Awards in Memphis, Tennessee. Her work can be found in the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia, (Julia J. Norrell collection), the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas, President William Jefferson Clinton collection, as well as numerous corporate and private collections. You can see more of Cox’s work at


V.L. Cox’s ‘Murder of Crows’ tackles hate head-on The medium is the message. By Leslie Newell Peacock, Arkansas Times March 3, 2016

V.L. Cox is not creating art that makes you do mental calisthenics to get its meaning, to work for the rush of the aha! moment. Her media — old steeples, barbed wire, a Klan robe, a black crow — is front-loaded with content: religion, pain, hatred, discrimination. She has purposely made the work in “A Murder of Crows,” now on exhibit at New Deal Studios and Gallery at 2003 Louisiana St., instantly accessible: There is no time to waste to counter the racism, once relegated to rural areas like her native Clark County, that is now becoming so distressingly expressed everywhere. She wants to counter the bombardment of misinformation — from what she says is a new journalism that is motivated by profit, and goads, rather than informs, the viewer — with simple truth. So her “Stained” piece — an American flag constructed of pages of the Bible made into tea bags — is no head-scratcher. It’s about how tea party dogma runs counter to brotherly love. She started at the bottom with tea bags (containing real tea) she fashioned from the pages of Leviticus; in all, she used an entire Bible and part of a second to create the 606 stained bags. Some of Cox’s work is enriched by the narrative. “Soles,” created from an 1896 arched church dormer that she’s drilled holes into to make it resemble a Klan hood, a noose and a pair of shoes. She was told growing up in Arkadelphia that when Klansmen came to church in their hoods and robes, you could still recognize who they were by their hands and shoes. Her great-grandfather, in fact, had been tied and horse-whipped by a Klan gang after being falsely accused by a man who was sour over a horse sale. Her great-grandfather wasn’t killed — he was white — but he nearly was. He later recognized on his cousin a pair of shoes that one of the Klansman involved in his whipping had worn, and never spoke to the cousin again. She’s also drilled eyeholes into the wooden pickets she’s whitewashed, wrapped in barbed wire and made into a broken-down fence (“Whitewash”). She was inspired by a gate surrounded by Confederate flags; it was outside Harrison. The gate, she says, “is the entrance into the dark world of white supremacy.” A Klan robe, paired with an old can of Puritan Cleaner, speaks for itself: It is real, purchased by Cox from an antique dealer outside Arkansas, and is stained with what appears to be blood. Its collar is stitched with the name of the robe’s owner — Wallis — as if it were the gear of a child going off to sleepaway camp. One of the works in the gallery was inspired by a story Cox read in the Arkansas Times, about a gay man who had to disinter his deceased partner from his grave in Baxter County because of threats against the grave; even the man who moved the monument was threatened with a Bowie knife-wielding man who asked “why he had that faggot’s headstone in the back of his truck.” “No Vacancy” is made of a metal steeple Cox got from an old Delta church and is combined with a cross of her own construction. On the horizontal arm of the cross is plastic tubing made to look like neon tubing; it reads “NO VACANCY” and the “NO” is blinking red, thanks to a strobe light Cox has built into the back of the cross. Reading vertically on the cross is the word “ACCEPTANCE.” You don’t need an art expert to tell you what the piece is about: Its strength is in its fine construction, its play on a motel sign and its in-your-face nature. There is humor in the exhibit, too: In “Ready, Aim, Fire, Brimstone” Cox has taken a 1939 Coca-Cola cooler lid someone used for target practice and inserted a Bible into it, as if it had been shot in. The work “represents how careless, reckless and forceful the Bible can be thrown around these days here in the South. At times, it’s as casual as shooting a sign as you drive by it, or hitting the sign with a beer bottle.”


Cox is astonished by the rise of blatant racism she sees today; she says “it’s becoming acceptable.” There is nothing wrong with being politically correct, she would remind people: The intention is to avoid hurting others. “You don’t get a free pass because you want to be an asshole,” she said. There are 22 works in the show, including the “End Hate” door installation that Cox has shown on the mall in Washington, D.C., and in front of the state Capitol, among other places. It was the first work in the collection she’s now calling “A Murder of Crows” (the name of a flock of crows, as well as making reference to Jim Crow.)


Arkansas State Capitol, March 24, 2015


Arkansas State Capitol, March 24, 2015

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., April 18, 2015.

END HATE Door Installation, 2015 82” x 238” x 5” – Installation

The series was created in response to Arkansas’s HB1228 which made it out of committee in March of 2015. This discriminatory bill would have brought back Jim Crow days where hatred and repression were the law of the land. The End Hate installation was installed twice on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol as a First Amendment protest of the reckless and unjust behavior by the 90th General Assembly. Through social media and the Associated Press, the series helped bring world-wide attention to the struggle. With enormous pressure now being forced on government officials, HB1228 was defeated. With similar bills being considered and passed across the country, the End Hate installation was then taken to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.. The power and simplicity of the historic content strongly resonated through the crowd. It brought people that were visiting from all over the world together in conversation in peace and camaraderie. And that is where change begins. END HATE DOORS are solid wooden doors from the 1930-50’s, 24k gold leaf, and paint.

Washington Monument, Washington, D.C., April 18, 2015.



Early morning hours, Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., April 18, 2015.



66” x 20” x 20” Mixed Media Installation After working with incarcerated youth and seeing first hand the unjust imbalance of mass incarceration of minorities in our country today, I find this piece haunting and sad but painfully true. The white column is taken from an old craftsman style front porch, where a lot of time is spent during the hot summer months due to the sweltering heat. Sitting on the front porch watching the world go by, is a relaxing, cherished moment here in the South. Unfortunately due to social economic status, lack of opportunity or the color of their skin, many individuals never get the opportunity to go past this setting before being funneled into the lucrative and politically controlled ‘cradle to prison’ pipeline. They literally spend a lifetime, from birth to death, ‘looking out’ into the real world. JIM is comprised of a vintage crow decoy, rusted barbed wire, paint, epoxy, and wood.





36” x 56” x 2.5” Mixed Media Stained is created with over six hundred and six (606) individual pages of the Bible made into tea bags with real tea leaves inside. As water and light paint was applied, the tea inside the tea bags then seeped through the paper and stained the bible pages representing the ‘stain’ the extreme faction of the Tea Party has inflicted on our society today. Unfortunately, pages of the Bible continue to be ripped out of context daily and used to intentionally harm others so construction of the flag began with the book of Leviticus. An entire Bible is used in this piece as well as part of another one. STAINED is comprised of paper, paint, black tea, string, and wood.





42.5” x 13.75” x 3.75” Mixed Media Created from a 1896 church roof dormer from south Arkansas, wood from an old church pew, 1930 rope, and worn leather shoes. In the 1920’s, the Klan used to request full church services and show up in all their regalia. The only way people could recognize the Klansmen was by their hands or their shoes. A little side note: My great-grandfather was almost killed by the Klan. He was pulled out of his house by his ankles, tied to a tree, and horse whipped within an inch of his life after being falsely accused by a man who was sour over a horse sale. My grandfather and great-grandmother had to cut him down and nurse his bloody wounds. My great-grandfather later recognized the shoes of a cousin that was involved in the whipping on Main St. Arkadelphia, Arkansas and swore revenge. They never spoke again. SOLES is comprised of an 1896 wooden church dormer vent, natural fiber 1930 rope, and leather.



11TH HOUR 34” x 20” x 22” Mixed Media

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that Sunday morning at 11 o’clock was the most segregated hour of the week. Religion is a personal and cultural thing, and I can understand wanting to worship with those you feel the most comfortable with, but my thoughts are that there is no reason that we all can’t get together and meet and talk several times a year to break down barriers of distrust and communication. The church is made out of an old vintage hand made bird house that I altered and rebuilt. A Bible is inside with contrasting pages turned to Mark 12:31; “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” The choir robe is from Second Baptist Church in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas where Dr. Dale Cowling was one of a few leading white clergymen who stood against the tide of unreason that swept Arkansas in the late 1950’s. In the celebrated Little Rock school crisis, Cowling voiced his stance on the wrongs of segregation. 11th HOUR is comprised of wood, shingles, metal, paper, paint, cloth robe, and lights.



WHITEWASH 65” x 52” x 9” Mixed Media

While driving through Harrison, Arkansas, I passed a dusty ‘compound’ on the edge of town with a large gate and numerous confederate flags marking the surrounding property lines as well as the gate entrance. It’s hard to miss. With the gate and the confederate flags being such a strong visual to me, I picked up this old wooden gate in an antique shop around the area, and wanted to create a piece that reflects the entrance into the dark world of White Supremacy. A piece that is antiquated, but still standing, in secrecy and anger intertwined with hatred, ignorance and fear. The two wood boards on each end, as well as the hinges and barbed wire were not original to the gate but were added. I then cut the flat tops of the gate pickets into a ‘hood’ image and carved a faded white Confederate Flag into the wood to represent the same flags from the compound. When I positioned the lighting at a 45 degree angle, it then created ‘ghosts’ behind the gate, lending an element of recognition to the old term ‘Invisible Empire’ from back in the day. WHITEWASH is comprised of wood, metal, and paint.



WHITE BREAD 70” x 28.5” x 4” Mixed Media

This piece was created after I read about Klan Camp for kids held this summer at the National Ku Klux Klan headquarters in Harrison, Arkansas. The teddy bear is facing backwards to represent the loss of innocence, and addresses children and early indoctrination. This screen door is also part of my Images of the American South screen door series. This long running, 24 year narrative body of work, is registered with the Library of Congress and tells the story of the South. WHITE BREAD is comprised of wood, metal, and paint.





READY, AIM, FIRE AND BRIMSTONE 25.5” x 33.5” x10” Mixed Media

Represents how careless, reckless and forceful the Bible can be thrown around these days here in the South. At times, it’s as casual as shooting a sign as you drive by it or hitting the sign with a beer bottle. Original vintage Bible cover over wood with gold leaf, mounted on the end of a 1939 Coca Cola box cooler. READY, AIM, FIRE AND BRIMSTONE is comprised of metal, wood, paper, and authentic 24K Tibetan prayer gold leaf.



OLD GLORY 41” x 48” x 5” Mixed Media

Old Glory is a sculptural piece made out of vintage steel and cloth. This old blue steel has been knocked around until it appears ruined and damaged but is still as strong as ever. I couldn’t even bang out some of the dents with a sledgehammer. It was then I decided to use it for this piece. I for one am sick and tired of all the crazy, narcissistic reality TV drama that has torn our country apart. I wanted to do a piece to show that even though we take a pounding, regardless of our stance or differences, I still believe that we are Americans, our country is strong, and freedom, equality and justice FOR ALL will prevail. OLD GLORY is comprised of metal, cloth, and paint.




BLESSED ASSURANCE 57” x 47” x 5.5” Mixed Media

The Charleston church massacre on June 17, 2015 devastated me. I could not believe the level of evil a young person was capable of due to the venomous indoctrination of hate. This piece was created after reading about the numerous African American churches that were horrifically being burned down through the South after the church massacre. The stained glass window is from 1896, and the brass fire extinguisher is from the 1920’s. Both come from old churches in South Arkansas. The wooden background is made from an old church pew from Roosevelt Road in Little Rock, Arkansas and burned along with old wallpaper attached to it. BLESSED ASSURANCE is comprised of glass, metal, and wood. 31


Installation A 1920 (95 year old) blood stained Klan robe installation. I acquired this piece from an antique dealer who had a family bring it in after another family member died. I had no idea it was stained with blood before the acquisition. I believe, after historical research, that this was used in the Summer of 1919 (Red Summer) somewhere in the South. The blood stains and the time period are almost identical. I kept the robe intact, created the hood to complete it, and purchased the vintage metal signage to show the true level of hatred this robe and installation represents. The rope is an old bell tower church rope. SOILED is comprised of circa 1919 authentic Ku Klux Klan robe, natural fiber rope, metal and wood.





54” x 15”x 14” Mixed Media Installation “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” - Ezekiel 36:26. This piece represents the convenient loss of humanity toward others in this digital age. While talking in great lengths to a friend one day about an idea I had for a project on this subject, she mentioned one of her favorite biblical quotes that went along with the stone heart I had just carved. Bottom line, regardless of your beliefs it’s up to all of us to make the efforts to open our hearts to others before any change can take place. I chiseled the stone heart with an air hammer, and the old rusted barbed wire came from property blessed by a church. The base is an antique craftsman style porch column representing the foundations and lessons of the South. The light represents hope. There’s always hope... PILLAR is comprised of wood, rusted barbed wire, stone, electric lighting, epoxy, and wood.


HOME OF THE BRAVE 74” x 34” x 21” Mixed Medium Installation

Being a rational, concerned individual is one thing. Reckless panic is another. Created out of an old Craftsman front porch column Home of the Brave represents the ridiculous level of fear that is being intentionally streamed into our homes to separate us as Americans today. Fear fuels mistrust, repression, and hatred among neighbors. Yes, there are things we need to take care of, but keeping a level head, checking facts, and not taking direction from emotionally charged individuals or media sources that are bent on monetary or personal gain is the solution. Truth is the key to our safety, security and happiness. America doesn’t need to “be great again,” it never stopped being great, and don’t let anyone motivated by self-interest or fear tell you otherwise. HOME OF THE BRAVE is comprised of wood, metal, and epoxy.




109” x 60” x 25” Mixed Media Installation I created No Vacancy from an old nine foot-tall church steeple from the Delta after reading the story the Arkansas Times did on a young man in northern Arkansas who received a letter in the mail from his church telling him he was immediately being removed from their membership records because he was gay, and then another story about a man who had to actually move his deceased partner’s grave due to the threats in Baxter County. The worker for the monument company who was moving the tombstone was even approached and threatened by a man with a Bowie knife in a Wal Mart parking lot of “why he had that ‘faggot’s’ headstone in the back of the truck.” Stories like this are all too common today and I don’t think this is what Christ had in mind when he told people to ‘love thy neighbor.’ NO VACANCY is comprised of wood, metal, plastic, electrical lighting and paint.



IT’S TIME WE START OVER AND TALK ABOUT HATE 23.25” x 17.75” x 5.5” Mixed Media When hate escalates to violence, it IS an emergency. It’s time to go back to the basics, start from the beginning, and learn to talk to one another. This is why I used an image of a simple child’s toy for the subject matter. The glass front is a resized 1950 wooden window, mounted on a vintage mercantile display case from the 1940’s. A 1920 church communion cabinet padlock secures the window below. IT’S TIME WE START OVER AND TALK ABOUT HATE is comprised of wood, metal, plastic, fiber, and paint.




STOP HATE 42” x 70” Mixed Media

Old church chalkboard from the 1930’s with a vintage school bus ‘stop’ light. It represents how early we need to teach our children about stopping hate. STOP HATE is comprised of paper, wood, glass, metal, and paint.


National Mall, Washington, D.C., April 18, 2015.




Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, March 30, 2015 - Photo by Brian Chilson


The defeat of HB1228, Arkansas State Capitol, February 26, 2015 - Photo by Nancy Lopez

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., April 18, 2015.


Lincoln Memorial, April 18, 2015


V.L. Cox at the Lincoln Memorial, April 18, 2015



V.L. Cox, Art Studio, 2016


Murder of Crows Exhibition, New Deal Studios, Little Rock, Arkansas, 2016 - Photo by Amanda Carpenter






Shreveport, LA, 1962

EDUCATION 1988-1991

BFA, Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, AR

SELECTED COLLECTIONS The Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA Historic Arkansas Museum, Little Rock, AR Julia Norrell Collection, Washington, D.C. President William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, New York, NY Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Little Rock, AR Southwest Power Pool Corporation, Little Rock, AR Acxiom Corporation, Little Rock, AR UAMS Medical Center, Little Rock, AR Crews & Associates Corporation, Little Rock, AR AWARDS AND HONORS 2015

Selected Arkansan of the Year, Arkansas Life Magazine, Little Rock, AR

Selected Visionary Arkansan, a celebration of ideas of transformative power, Arkansas Times, Little Rock, AR

Voted Best Artist in the Best of Arkansas People and Politics section of the Arkansas Times, Little Rock, AR


Nomination - Governor’s Art Award, Little Rock, AR


Acquisition - President William Jefferson Clinton Collection, New York, NY


Art Across Arkansas - THEA Foundation and The Clinton Presidential Library, Little Rock, AR.

2009-15 Beau, On loan - Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, Little Rock, AR 2008

U. S. State Department Invitation, Art in Embassies Program, Democratic Republic of Congo


Acquisition - Historic Arkansas Museum Permanent Collection, Little Rock, AR


Selected for the 50th Delta Exhibition, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR


Acquisition - Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA, Julia Norrell Collection.


Selected for the 1999 Women’s Works, Chicago, IL. Juried by Susan Sensemann.


Purchase award - Arkansas Arts Statewide Annual Art Competition, Little Rock, AR. Juried by nationally

known photorealist Robert Cottingham.


(* Denotes Solo Exhibitions)


A Murder of Crows, the End Hate Collection, Little Rock, AR *


End Hate, Temporary Installation, Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. *

End Hate, Temporary Installation, Arkansas State Capitol, Little Rock, AR *

River Bridge Unveiling, M2 Gallery and South on Main, Little Rock, AR *


Featured Artist, University of Arkansas sUgAR Gallery, Fayetteville, AR *


Images of the American South, THEA Foundation, Little Rock, AR *


Origins, M2 Gallery, Featured Artist, Little Rock, AR *



Featured Artist, Historic Arkansas Museum, Little Rock, AR

Featured Artist, M2 Gallery, Little Rock, AR*

ONE, First Anniversary Show - M2 Gallery, Little Rock, AR


Featured Artist, Arkansas State Capitol, Little Rock, AR

White Canvas Gallery, Richmond, VA

Featured Artist, Remy Fine Art, Ft. Smith, AR

M2 Gallery, Little Rock, AR

Featured Artist, M2 Gallery, Little Rock, AR *


Louis Aronow Gallery, Union Square District Location, San Francisco, CA

Art House on Routh, Dallas TX *

Cantrell Gallery, Little Rock, AR


New Works, Gallery Central, Hot Springs, AR *

Cudahy’s Gallery, Richmond, VA

Doors, Floors and Windows, An exhibition of Contemporary, Folk, and Ethnographic Works of Art, Jay Etkin Gallery, , Memphis, TN


Featured Artist, Gallery Central, Hot Springs, AR

GalleryArtSpace, Dallas, TX

Art On Kavanaugh, July 11, Little Rock, AR


Featured Artist, Gallery Central, Hot Springs, AR


Visions of the Past, TCBY Tower, Little Rock, AR

Todd Crockett Fine Art Gallery, Little Rock, AR

BIBLIOGRAPHY V.L. Cox’s ‘Murder of Crows’ tackles hate head-on, Arkansas Times, March 3, 2016 Visionary Arkansans, A celebration of ideas of transformative power. Arkansas Times, August 2015 Arkansans of the Year, Arkansas Life, May 2015 Back to the Future, AY Magazine, October 2010 Artsy Argenta, Arkansas Times, September 2008 Screen Test, Arkansas Times, August 2008 V.L. Cox, At Home in Arkansas, April 2008 An Artist of Past and Present, Inviting Arkansas, August 2007 Spotlight, Real Living, July 2005 KARK 4 Today, Channel 4, Little Rock, Arkansas 2005 Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Werner Trishmann, July 2004 Little Rocks Emerging Art Scene, Real Living, September 2004 Ones to Watch, Active Years, February 2003 Good Morning Arkansas, Channel 7, Little Rock, Arkansas, 2003 Spring Showing, Inviting Arkansas, 2002 kicks off, At Home in Arkansas, 2001 Susan G. Komen Foundation Showing, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, High Profile Section, 2001 Main framed art. All art, all the time, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Style Section, 2000




V.L. Cox and studio cat “Magic.” February 28, 2015

Be good to one another...



$40.00 ISBN 978-0-692-72284-8


WWW.ENDHATEPROJECT.COM - Copyright 2016 - VL Cox, All Rights Reserved 2016 Murder of Crows Exhibition, New Deal Studios, Little Rock, AR

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"A Murder Of Crows", the End Hate Project  

The End Hate Project is a narrative body of work that looks at our history of past and present discrimination, gender issues, and social cul...

"A Murder Of Crows", the End Hate Project  

The End Hate Project is a narrative body of work that looks at our history of past and present discrimination, gender issues, and social cul...