Adam W. McKinney, Unfolding History, 2020; digital video, time: 9:18; Courtesy of the artist.
McKinney created Unfolding History (August 2020), a nine-minute film using dance footage in the traumatic sites associated with the racial lynching of Fred Rouse to tell Rouse’s story. The video also includes archival footage from the late nineteenth century, 1920s silent film text, as well as short archival excerpts from a February 1922 Fort Worth, Texas, Ku Klux Klan (KKK) Klavern No. 101 parade. Musical accompaniment includes atmospheric sounds and popular 1920s and 1930s KKK songs. Artist McKinney says “In Unfolding History, I play with representations of Blackness and the possibility of trans-portation and trans-formation juxtaposing pain and healing, trauma and recovery, frailty and strength.”
Fred Rouse was lynched on a hackberry tree by members of KKK Klavern No. 101 in Fort Worth, Texas, on December 11, 1921. Fort Worth had one of the largest KKK memberships in the country in the 1920s, so much so that they built a 4,000 seat auditorium. DNAWORKS, an arts and service organization co-founded by McKinney, is currently working to acquire the building and transform it into an international center and museum for the arts and community healing. They call the project “Transform 1012 N. Main Street.”
McKinney has created a supplemental document for Unfolding History. Download a print-at-home foldable document that tells the story of Rouse’s tragic death.
Zeus Hope, Rock My Soul, 2020; acrylic paint, collaged sheet music, card stock, paper, 11 x 14 inches; Courtesy of the artist.
Those are the hands of Nina Simone;
The face of Billie Holiday;
The stand of Dr. Martin Luther King
The tracks of Dachau;
Strange Fruit knows no bounds
The red symbolizes profuse bloodshed;
the intersection of reduced resources
and reverberating rage
These things meld in lyric,
Song, the historical embodiment
of shared experiences;
of lived experiences!
My people the solid rock!
My lyric the solid rock!
My soul the solid rock!
Freedom, the solid rock!
Regardless of how it gets blurred through systems,
Every single part, from the womb to the grave, rocks my soul!
It says ‘Don’t, Stop, Zeus!’
It’s Spirit that placed this piece together and makes it complete,
Rock, My Soul!
Najeeb Sabour, The Bird Song, 2020; cello and voice, time: 5:12; Courtesy of the artist.