The Arts

We believe the arts are an avenue to the sacred. Our permanent art collection challenges, comforts and inspires, with exhibits throughout the program year. Our extraordinary music program, Literary Witnesses series and other offerings bring the arts into daily life at Plymouth.

Christmas Embroidery

***Plymouth Church is committed to dismantling white supremacy. This commitment includes acknowledging hurtful imagery in our own works of art. The loving women who worked for years on this embroidery intended no harm. However, the impact of this image of Black Peter has triggered generational and societal trauma in our community. We apologize for our participation in perpetuating racist imagery.

Additional Images

This image depicts a representation of Black Peter located in the bottom left corner of the image.

Intent

The legend of Black Peter, or Zwarte Piet in Dutch, began in 15th century Holland. He is depicted as a Spanish Moor, reflecting Spain’s occupation of the Netherlands at the time, and he was often portrayed as a pirate who kidnapped naughty Dutch children and took them to his pirate’s hideout to beat them.

Impact

In a majority of descriptions of Black Peter, he is not the servant of St. Nicholas, but his slave. According to the African American Registry (aaregistry.com) Black Peter is also a “Black Face” character.

The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia notes, “Black Peter symbolizes the devil, who was easily associated with people of Moorish decent…The fact that the current Black Peter is a racialized variant of the devil figure and that people (esp. children) are still being taught, through the celebrations and rituals, to ‘easily associate’ evilness and Black Peter with people of color, is exactly the problem.”