More than 160 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, Jacksonville creatives asked the community to define “free.”
Nearly 100 people filed into the Jessie Ball duPont Center on Saturday to attend “Free Press,” a conversation about Black Americans’ forward movement through art and authenticity.
The exhibition featured four local artists: Jasmine Hurst, Chris Clark, Tyler Murphy and Jarrett Walker.
Clark showcased a mixed media piece that was a collection of letters by Black boys to their mothers in case they are killed by police, Murphy created paintings that depict the double consciousness Black people endure to be their authentic selves in the workplace. Meanwhile, Walker reminded the 100-person audience that as was the case in the civil rights movement, the youth played a role in advancing Black America forward with the encouragement of elders.
The exhibition was sponsored by local historian and activist Rodney Hurst. He said holding the showcase in the middle of Black History Month added additional significance to the discussion.
“It’s very important that young people know that there are people behind them,” he said. “And, I say young, black and brilliant people because many times they don’t have a showcase for their talents and their gifts. And those of us who can make things happen for them, we need to make some things happen.”
Other events celebrating Black History Month will take place this weekend.
Friday: he Museum of Science & History and the Jax Melanin Market will host “POWER: A Celebration of Arts, Culture and History,” a four-hour event that will feature music, visual artists, food from local chefs and discussion about local history and culture. General admission tickets are $40.
Saturday: A Kingsley Heritage Celebration, including a living history demonstration, will take place at Kingsley Plantation at 10 a.m.