Vernon AME Church
Tulsa, OK
June 1-3, 2021

As part of the Greenwood Art Project, I created a public art installation inside of the historic Vernon AME Church in the Greenwood district of Tulsa, OK.

In 1921, a mob of white people descended upon the Black neighborhood of Greenwood and massacred the community. They went into Black homes and set the curtains aflame, while families were still inside. They stood on hills with guns and shot people as they ran for their lives. They dropped turpentine bombs from planes, burning buildings from the top down. Churches, businesses, homes, were leveled overnight.

100 years later, my project asked the question: where are we safe? The Day is Past and Gone is a site specific installation consisting of projected experimental short film and moving image piece, music and voice audio, and charred church fans and hymnals. In this work, I am using the Black church as a historical site of safety and fellowship for Black people as well as a site of violence against Black people.

This project focuses particularly on the violence against Black life, community, and physical space in the 1921 Massacre. The Day is Past and Gone represents the dichotomy of Black safe spaces, and how that space is under threat of racial violence: Black Wall Street as a place of Black life and prosperity, and the Tulsa Massacre as an act that quickly set that life and prosperity aflame.

The Oklahoman