Today has been one of the best days of my life--one of those days when you just are so blessed and so grateful for the opportunities that come your way. It was a day of experiencing relationship, and how important those experiences are. My friends and colleagues, Dr. LaToya Brooks, upper left, and Dr. Debra Moore, 3rd from left, joined me and 3 of our students (Glenn, upper right, Krista, lower left, and Landon, lower right) in Mound Bayou for our Historic Preservation Workshop for youth. The mayor's wife, Mrs. Johnson (in the yellow shirt) and a teacher, Mrs. Phipps (in the pink and white) joined us for the program, and the walking trip through town, and were such a vital part of the day. Not only did they give up their Saturday for us, the history and experiences they shared with us was incredible.
We did a brief powerpoint of historic buildings in Mound Bayou, what makes a building historic, and architectural styles evident in Mound Bayou. The students amazed us with the knowledge they had of the community, and its importance in Mississippi and the US. I am going to go out on a limb here and say not many high school students know this much about their home town, let alone, its historical importance in the United States. Last summer, I had discovered some photographs of Mound Bayou that were taken in 1939 as part of the Works Progress Administration photography efforts and the students said they had not seen these photographs of their town before. Because a major fire had destroyed most of downtown in the early 1940s, it was inspiring to share those pictures of the town and for us to talk about how life might have been during that time.
Our next plan was to do a walking tour of the town with several things in mind: Photograph the community in terms of what the students saw as worthy of recording, keep an eye out for what each person saw as unique and unusual, and share, as we only had 5 cameras! I truly did not know the level of interest they might have in this, but given that I have over 500 photographs to go through, from our almost 2 hour walk through town, I am going to say they had some interest.
We had a semi-agenda (besides sharing the cameras): take some photos, including of each other; take pictures of what you find interesting and what catches your eye; and we would go back to the facility and print photos in various forms. I had mats, frames, canvases, paints, etc.