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2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

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"A Civil Rights Memorial"

Friday, March 05 - 2:00PM to 2:45PM
Salon F

Four years ago, I wandered downtown Montgomery in the
sweltering heat, picked up a walking tour trail, and found myself
facing a large, ornate fountain, situated on a brick pavilion. A
Historical Site sign said that I was standing on the former Court
Square Slave Market, where slave traders sold men, women, and
children to the highest bidder. It presented cold hard facts, detailing
dollar values for slaves at the time and how none were given
last names.
I was speechless. The fountain was erected at a time when this
site was not considered for its history, the sign placed in a gesture
of reconsideration. The language printed on the sign was so void
of sentiment – in no way testifying to the experience and meaning.
I watched people pass by and wondered if they knew or
thought of the history beneath their feet. Curious about what I
might find at other historical sites (marked or unmarked) through
the South, I began my search. I have been traveling through
Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana, and
documenting sites where civil rights-era atrocities, Klan activities,
and slave trade occurred.
I am interested in these sites, their memorials or lack thereof,
how some have faded into the landscapes, while others awkwardly
stand out, but seemingly go unnoticed. How do the affects
of this history still reverberate in these communities and in the
landscape? I hope to create this context in my photographs. My
larger body of work is about families and communities. This
project is absolutely about that. It is a meditation and a recapturing.
These images are renewed representations, a new memorial
to these events. My hope is that the viewer will consider the
relationship of this history within current contexts.

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