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Green is known for turning the South’s complicated history with African American culture into rich colorful works of art. His paintings are a celebration of southern African American culture. His interest in rice culture is an extension of his exploration of southern life. The rice project grew out of his work on the painting “Seeking,” a work inspired by the restoration of grave site of slaves at Clermont Cemetery on the grounds of Mepkin Abbey in Monks Corner, South Carolina.

On a drive back to South Carolina from Florida, Green realized that all of the acreage zipping past his car window were once rice fields. There were plantations by the thousands between St. Augustine, Fla. and Wilmington, he said. That was the rice corridor.

Green talks with admiration and awe about rice culture. One can almost see his face light-up when he describes how slaves removed giant cypress trees to clear the land for planting.  They used sweet grass baskets to remove the earth for planting, he said. It was an unbelievable task function of labor. Out of it came music, dance and the culture of rice culture that was maintained, he said.

Hundreds of thousands and millions of Africans were enslaved. Most of them were enslaved and were middle school age. We as a people know so little as to why it happened and it was rice, he said.

“We are so black and white. Everything comes from civil rights from the ‘50 and the ‘60s,” he said. “The civil rights movement started when those people were enslaved and put on boats. All of those people that maintained their culture that was the Civil Rights Movement. This recent history that’s wonderful icing on the cake, but the cake is the people who worked on the plantation all of the their lives. Those are our heroes and sheroes.”

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