Children’s Artist Mary Engelbreit Catches Flack For Moving Anti-Racist Art

For the better part of 30 years, Mary Engelbreit has been one of this nation’s most beloved children’s artists. She’s also made a name for herself for her work in stationery and home goods. But last week, Engelbreit took a good bit of flack for her moving pictures showing solidarity with Michael Brown and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Just after midnight on August 7–one year after Brown’s death at the hands of Darren Wilson–Engelbreit posted this picture to her Facebook page.

The first moving picture put up by ME

It shows a sobbing black mother holding her baby son while reading a newspaper with the headline “HANDS UP! DON’T SHOOT.” Engelbreit lives in St. Louis, so you can probably imagine that Brown’s shooting just a few miles away in Ferguson affected her personally.

Engelbreit included this caption:

“It’s been a year since unarmed Michael Brown was shot and killed in the street by a policeman. The protests about his death and countless others have seemed to do some good, leading Missouri governor Jay Nixon to order the retraining of police in conflict resolution. Don’t stop protesting. Fight racism.”

Well, that picture drew a number of hackles, including several from longtime fans who said they no longer wanted anything to do with her. But it’s gotten a lot of praise as well–as of Tuesday night, it has over 17,800 likes, and has been shared 3,800 times. A companion tweet has been favorited 670 times and retweeted 700 times.

Engelbreit didn’t take long to respond to all the criticism with another moving picture.

ME's moving response
She wrote that these pictures were her way of joining in the protests that were underway that day. In a tongue-in-cheek swipe at her detractors, she said that those who wanted nothing to do with her after this were more than welcome to trash all of their ME items–but they shouldn’t throw them at anyone because “that would not be peaceful.”

Engelbeit has churned out several more moving anti-racist pictures over the last few days, and doesn’t seem to mind if it costs her fans. In an email to Buzzfeed, she said that “the artwork speaks for itself.” She added, “There are no words to express how little I care if I lose every bigoted, racist, homophobic and/or sexist follower I have.” Amen, Mary. Don’t let them get you down.

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.