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Black History Month: Shades Of Black

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Herald photographer Carl Juste has seen a lot in his years documenting the world.

“I can look back at a picture and go back and smell it. In Haiti it wasn’t just your eyes that were tormented. Your ears, you hear screaming children pretty much crying themselves to death.  It something you don’t forget,” explained Carl Juste, curator of Shades of Black.

Now he is sharing how he sees the world not just through his lens, but being African American.

“When you walk through this gallery it’s not just doom and gloom.  And it’s not just things that tug at your heart,” Juste told CBS4’s David Sutta. “It’s also things that tug at your intellect.”

Shades of Black is a collection of work from artists around the world, each telling a story of what it meant to be black at that very moment.  “These pieces generally represent what people think when they think of Africa. Africa is not just this. Africa is many things and we move down the gallery you begin to deal with a sense of identity.”

Photographer Charlie Trainor’s section spans three decades of Miami History, including the unique transformation of three African Americans.   “And you have the barber who keeps his prices the same because he knows his community cannot afford a price hike,” said Juste.

There are famous faces like Muhammad Ali, President Barrack Obama and perhaps one of the most famous African Americans living in Miami today.   “No one ever describes Lebron James as a black basketball superstar. How far have we come? Twenty-years ago that may have been the case,” declared Juste.

The collection includes paintings, sculpture, even cartoonist Jim Moran.   “What if Zimmerman was black and Trayvon Martin was white?  Race in this country is like a taboo subject.  Nobody wants to talk about it until we are forced to talk about it,” said Juste.

Juste put it all on display in this one room to stimulate the conversation. He hopes visitors leave understanding that black is not just one identity, but actually has many shades – Shades of Black.

“You get a sampling of what that means to this region,” said Juste. “To Miami specifically.”

They say to know where you’re going you have to know where you came from. This trail certainly shows you that. To see it in person you can go to the Little Haiti Cultural Center now through the end of the month.  There is a special event on Friday evening as well.

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