Powerful ‘Wake: The Afterlife of Slavery’ Exhibit at Glendale’s Downtown Central Library (Photos)

*If you live in southern California or plan to visit soon, run, don’t walk to the amazing new library in Glendale, California on any given day. But be sure to do so between now and November 5, when you can experience the incredible exhibit, Wake: The Afterlife of Slavery.

As a former longtime resident of the city, a lot of my writing took place at the Downtown Central Library. I would spend hours working there in the quiet rooms; sometimes on their computers, other times on my own laptop.

Although I had moved away and only visited on occasion, I was sad (and inconvenienced) when I would attempt to visit Glendale and learned the library was closed for remodeling.

But oh my god when they reopened, I could not believe my eyes. I had never seen such a beautiful and spacious library. It had new entrances, rooms designed for special activities for both adults and children such as ReflectSpace–where the ‘Wake’ Exhibit is currently taking place.

And even more surprising is the great representation of African Americans and Africans in the main library of this historically Armenian-favored community.

It took two visits to witness the totality of it all, and truthfully, there is still much more to see. But I think it was the huge image of a Toni Morrison quote on one of the library walls as I walked by that caused me to double back and say…

What the…?

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It wasn’t tucked away somewhere, it was out loud, a huge blow up of her quote in the hallway of the general area. I hadn’t even realized there was an entire Exhibit on slavery, with original typewritten letters to and from W.E.B. Dubois and others, Western Union correspondence, slave Manifests, — all put together by former L.A. Times photojournalist Clarence Williams and L. A. artist Nicola Goode, in a room on the other side of the library.

In fact, I don’t know if the images of educational facets about African and African American life (shown directly below) even have anything to do with the exhibit at all.

As I walked down the hallway of this entirely rebuilt library, I was very impressed.

More photos in the hallway of the Glendale Downtown Central Library
Another photo collage in the hallway of theDowntown Central library.
Another hallway photo…

…upstairs at the downtown Central Library.

A picturesque view from the 2nd floor of the Downtown Central Library.

Wake: The Afterlife of Slavery, is featured @ReflectSpace in the Downtown Central Library in Glendale, California from Sept. 15 through November 5, 2017. The exhibit traces a jagged narrative of slavery in the US from the slave trade to the present.

Dr. Christina Sharpe

Revolving around the ideas of Black scholar and author Dr. Christina Sharpe, Wake engages various meanings of that word to address the aftermath and the evolution of the institution of slavery into its virulent forms today.

The exhibit is curated by Ara and Anahid Oshagan.

A few of the incredible images from the exhibit:

A letter written to Dr. W.E.B. Dubois
Written response from W.E.B. Dubois
New Orleans: 2005 photo of post-Katrina victim

There is LOTS more to see at the exhibit!

Below, Pulitzer prize winning photojournalist, Clarence Williams. 

1998 Pulitzer prize winning photojournalist, Clarence Williams

Learn more about artist Nicola Goode (pictured below) in this special feature of her work with Michael Jackson.

L. A. based Artist Nicola Goode

Learn more about Glendale, California’s Downtown Central Library here

I know the exhibit will leave soon to make way for another part of the American experience, but it would be nice if the African American and African presence outside of the exhibit will remain to some extent.

SUPPORT THIS EXQUISITE EXHIBIT BEFORE IT CLOSES ON NOV. 5, 2017. The address is 222 E. Harvard Street, Glendale, CA. Plenty of free parking at The Marketplace across the street with validation.

#downtowncentrallibrary @ReflectSpace #clarencewilliams #nicolagoode #drchristinasharpe

This feature was developed by EURweb senior editor, DeBorah B. Pryor


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