Declaration was conceived by Dwayne Reginald Betts and Titus Kaphar as part of Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Reimagining Re-Entry Fellowship. The artists worked with members of Mural Arts’ Guild Program, a re-entry program for men and women returning from prison, as well as men from MAP’s mural program at SCI Phoenix.
The Declaration of Independence is both a revolutionary document and evidence of many contradictions in the history of the United States. The redaction of this document reveals the truths and contradictions as seen by current American citizens, many of whom are people of color. For example, while the Declaration states that “all men are created equal,” the Three-fifths Compromise determined enslaved African Americans would be counted as 3/5 of the number of white inhabitants of each state for the purposes of representation in Congress. This ratio has been guiding the United States for nearly 250 years, and has begun to be critiqued more closely in light of the recent civil upheaval brought about by the deaths of Black men and women by police brutality.