In this interview with Anthony McKissic, we talk about ritual and recall in Black art and Black spaces. A resident of Baltimore, Maryland, McKissic was born and raised in Washington, DC. A part of his cultural upbringing is rooted in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and Chattanooga, Tennessee. He attended Morgan State University and the Maryland Institute College of Art. McKissic is currently pursuing a doctorate in English from Morgan State University while continuing to teach with Baltimore City Schools.
McKissic talks up Blues artists Jr. Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside, and Cotton Patch Soul Blues a form of Blues music with roots in Mississippi.
Included here are links to a couple of the Blues artists that McKissic is inspired by:
R.L. Burnside and family. R.L. Burnside on guitar, Burnside’s grandson on drums. Song title, “Boogie Instrumental”
[source: YouTube, Alan Lomax Collection]
“I Came to Praise His Name” by Leo Bud Welch [source: YouTube, Easy Eye Sound]
On July 3, 2020, the Trump administration issued the “Executive Order on Building and Rebuilding Monuments to American Heroes.” State Governors and county officials were asked to give recommendations for a park that will feature historically significant Americans. Breonna Taylor, Rosa Parks, and John Lewis are some of the names that have been recommended.
The Department of Interior has a public database in which you can view the recommendations submitted by your local and state representatives. (see link in bio).
Pictured above is a report of archaeological findings performed at the birthplace of Josiah Henson. Born in Charles Country, Maryland, Josiah Henson was an abolitionist that escaped to freedom. Half brother of explorer, Matthew Henson. A distant relative of actress, Taraji P. Henson.
The archaeological study and report was prepared by St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Josiah Henson is one of the historical figures recommended by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
Tulane School of Architecture faculty Laura Blokker, Interim Director and Lecturer of Preservation Studies, and Andrew Liles, AIA, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Architecture, recently received a national grant to preserve the legacy of mid-century, African-American schools in Louisiana.
Website AfricanAmericanHighSchoolsInLouisianaBefore1970.com was founded by Dr. Russell R. Hill, Mr. Ken Groomes, and associates. When a mutual friend, Dr. Kirk Clayton, was inducted into the New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame, they all began to think about the other African-American athletes that matriculated through Louisiana’s once segregated schools. Although unable to locate a primary data source to include the name of each student whose school experience was largely shaped by the Louisiana Interscholastic Athletic and Literary Organization, they were successful in getting a list of schools. From there, the group built an online directory of Louisiana’s once segregated Louisiana high schools.
According to architecture.tulane.edu, Blokker and Liles will “build off of an existing online map of historic schools to locate extant mid-century buildings and document them.” They will select two schools to create example visioning plans, including a “survey of existing buildings and concepts for reuse, recommendations for material and future preservation and design interventions.” Each stakeholder will receive a graphic and textual handbook of recommendations.
Visit the Louisiana African-American High Schools website. You will find that the site’s organizers have already collected, produced, and published resources to preserve and contextualize this underrepresented piece of Louisiana history. In the architecture.tulane.edu feature, Blokker states that she understands the community’s desire to “celebrate the legacy of generations of African American educators, leaders, and communities who nurtured these learning environments and sprung from them.”
History to remember! The Magnolia Tree Earth Center of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Inc. was founded in 1972 by Hattie Carthan. A resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Mrs. Carthan was among the nation’s first African-American, community-based, ecology activists. Her pioneering efforts brought a variety of “green” programs to her neighborhood during the early emergence of the grassroots and environmental education movements
Preservation in action! Today this group kicked off a Preservation Plan for the Georgia B. Williams Nursing Home in Camilla, Georgia! Here, Beatrice Borders, a third generation African-American midwife, operated a nursing home from 1941 to 1971, delivering over 6,000 babies! Providing an essential service through segregation and the Jim Crow era, Beatrice provided a safe place for expectant mothers, and “birthed a city.” #thisplacematters#PreservingHope@thegeorgiatrust#preservationplanning@visitblackhistory#grassroots#kickoff
In a 2017 article for The Undefeated, Roy Peter Clark imagines Ray Charles is the man ”to ease the antagonism surrounding the national anthem controversy.” Referring to Colin Kaepernick and his ”taking a knee stance.” Clark affirmed that throughout Ray Charles’s career, the artist used his powers for ”healing and reconciliation.” And that all professional sports teams like the NFL and MLB should play Ray Charles rendition of America The Beautiful at halftime. In A Black Theology of America The Beautiful, writer Luke Hill shares that Ray Charles once said, “I never sing anything I don’t want to sing. Never sing anything I don’t mean.” Hill affirms that Ray Charles’s version of America The Beautiful is different from the one Katherine Lee Bates wrote.