Souvenir II by Kerry James Marshall is set in Marshall’s aunt’s living room where a memorial hangs above the couch. The memorial reads “In Memory of” and features President John F. Kennedy, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and centered between the Kennedys is Martin Luther King, Jr. In clouds floating above, Marshall depicts – as angels – individuals associated with the Civil Rights Movement who were violently killed between 1959–1970. The most prominent part of the work is that of a black angel with gold wings, preparing the living room’s memorial setting, holding a vase with flowers, inviting the viewer into the scene. Souvenir II is one of four in a series, narrating the loss of leaders in politics, literature, arts and music.
Among the angels depicted in the clouds is Detroit native Viola Liuzzo, a housewife and 39-year-old mother of five. She was shot by Ku Klux Klan night riders on Highway 80 in Montgomery, Alabama making her way home to Detroit after participating in the Selma to Montgomery marches in the wake of Bloody Sunday. To this day, she is known as the only white woman killed during the Civil Rights Movement. The other angels in the artwork include Medgar Evers, Fred Hampton, Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Malcolm X and others who were murdered for their work during the Civil Rights Movement.