making exeter's invisible history visible.
photo courtesy of the exeter historical society
"The final triumph of racism in Exeter was not only the physical effacement of its black community but also a collective amnesia that has left little trace of its existence in white history."
- David T. Dixon (author of "Freedom Earned, Equality Denied: Evolving Race Relations in Exeter and Vicinity 1776-1876," published 2007)
what is re.presentexeter?
working together to uncover the hidden stories of african americans in exeter, new hampshire
in 1776, exeter, new hampshire had the largest population of african americans in the state, with its peak at 5%.
since then, the number has dwindled down to less than 0.5%. what happened to all these people?
where did they go? why don't we know about the 5% and why don't we share their stories?
with this project, which blends visual artistry and written word, we hope to shed light on this history, and hopefully make the town of exeter more aware of its history; not only the good stories, but also the bad and the ugly. how do we do this? by representing some of the key figures of black history in exeter and re-presenting their stories.
history forgot their faces. it's our job to remember their names.
art inspired by style of richard haynes
about our project
who are we talking about?
why are we talking about them?
these three men, all of whom lived
spectacular lives, represent different
eras and different struggles
and triumphs of their time.
how are we representing them?
through a mural which represents their lives in one summarized image of each man while unifying them in their shared experiences, and
through vignettes, which use fictitious scenes to illustrate true events in their lives and the
thoughts and feelings we believe
they may have had.
an important note:
all writing is done without specific accounts of incidences and scenes are created based on imaginative deduction with information from their lives. in addition, all is done through the lens of current societal stances and therefore cannot be completely unbiased from our point of view, but they are as accurate and unfiltered as possible.
why we're here
i started this project because i believe strongly in equal representation for people of color and i think it's important to open up a discussion about the black population in exeter made up of good, patriotic people and also about exeter's less favorable history involving racism and discrimination.
i chose to be a member of this project because i believe it is important to acknowledge the past in order to create a better future. fighting for equality is extremely important and your voice should be used if given a platform. looking at our own community’s past has given the opportunity for the forgotten to be seen and given proper respect.
"re.presentexeter" exemplifies what is possible when students' interests and community connections are at the center of what we do. this project illustrates the role each of us can play in helping others understand what shapes history and society, and as an educator, that's really what it's all about: helping young people find ways to investigate what puzzles them and showcase what excites them.
with help from: richard haynes, raye neil,
the exeter historical society, renay allen-hitzrot,
and jamie gowing cabinetry
1 Blue Hawk Dr, Exeter, NH 03833