Author: Kayla Connelly Page 1 of 2

ICA Exhibit – Alternative Event

“Free. Free. Freeee…” Is what is playing from 33 television screens as you walk into this exhibit. There were a few other pieces of art in the room as well, but none of the descriptions particularly said who the woman was on the screen. I assume this was done deliberately. The women is standing at the Washington Monument, in front of the Lincoln Memorial statue.

The entire exhibit shows clips of people, black and white, doing and explaining race-related things. For example, there were 4 clips of the same white man having conversations with himself on the topic of race from a white man’s point of view. The clips repeat themselves within the sequence of the clip, so you can grasp that the conversation is an ongoing, never-ending conversation. In one of the clips he repeats, ” Someone has to step up and lead. Tell me about it. I’m so angry. Me too.  What are we going to do? That’s the question. We have to do something. I know. Someone has to step up and lead. Tell me about it…” (There’s one man speaking the entire time, hence my lack of additional quotes. But, the dialogue is meant to be a conversation.” In another clip he opens a curtain saying, “Welcome to the new world of whiteness.” Then he opens another curtain saying, “It’s the same as the old one.”

Overall, the concept I got from the exhibit was that everyone has to, at some point, face racism, but the ways in which they can deal with it differ. Some people stand up, speak on it, and demand that it changes. Some people recognize that it needs to be fixed and the someone has to fix it. Some people just don’t do anything to fix, mend, or change it at all.

I believe the exhibit was trying to open the eyes of the audience, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or culture, to help them understand that race is everyone’s problem. I enjoyed the different creative tactics and methods of art that the curators used to convey this message. Going to see this exhibition during our class time, would’ve been very beneficial and potentially could’ve sparked in us some ideas to transfer to our digital story. Nonetheless, I’m glad that I got the opportunity to experience this exhibit and will share with my peers.

Harriet – Alternative Event

Harriet: Watched on November 30, 2019 in Brooklyn, NY


The movie starts with Minty’s master refusing to give Minty and her family the freedom her and her family rightly deserve. This leads to Minty praying for her master to die if god can’t get through to him, and a few days later he does. The master’s son overheard Minty when she was praying so he decides to sell her because he blamed her and god for his father’s death. Minty refused to be sold, so she decided to run. The movie then shows her journey to freedom, and the turmoil and chaos that she fought through in order to make enslaved Africans free. Throughout the movie we see how God is speaking to Harriet allowing her to complete her mission of freeing her people. 

A part that I liked was when “Minty” aka Harriet Tubman was leaving and saying goodbye to her mother and she did it through song. And then her mother joined her while one of the masters was looking for her so it threw him off her scent. I think this was a good part because it depicted how slaves during this time communicated through songs. It was what helped them to make it through the hard times and also gave them hope for a better day. We see throughout the film when she becomes an underground railroad conductor and uses these spirituals to signal to slaves when she’s in the area and ready to help those who wanted to escape. In a way it reminded me of 12 Years a Slave when Soloman finally decided to start singing. It showcased how music represented liberation, self-expression, and hope, which is something I think the music in Harriet also displayed.

Overall I enjoyed the movie. I think that the movie was able to really show Harriet’s fighting spirit. She never gave up and continued to fight for what she believed and wanted. This is similar to Gabriel’s Rebellion because although he wasn’t successful, he was very adamant and fought for what he wanted. He spent months planning for his rebellion and speaking with folks all over Virginia. I also think the movie did a good job of showing her as the hero that she is but it also showed how she was an actual person with feelings and issues outside of this heroic image. The same goes for Gabriel in the sense that he should be treated as an actual person with feelings and has the right to be commemorated and honored as such. I can easily see how MK used this movie to influence our class and the analysis we did throughout the course.

One question that I had was why did the director choose not to elongate certain scenes or depict all emotions from a particular event or moment? There were some moments that I felt should have portrayed more emotion from the actors, causing the audience to feel a bit more provoked. Why was this not done? Was the director holding back?

Power Analysis

Will attend an Undoing Racism and Community Organizing workshop next semester as an alternative to MK’s Power Analysis.

You Can Hide, But We Can Seek

This chapter speaks to the constant mistreatment of African-Americans and the measures that whites took to hide the evidence of slavery and oppression. No one wants to speak on the horrid actions done to African-Americans and show with pictures, stories, and documentations the disturbing behaviors that were done to blacks.

It’s not taught in classrooms, its not discussed in communities, its not spoken of in appropriate and uncomfortable settings. Its hidden and shunned away so that no one can fully grasp the crude mindset and horrendous actions. But, the truth shall arise and be exposed to all who is unaware.

Slavery In Virginia

Reading this section reminded me of a course I took in freshman year, entitled Slavery in Virginia. When speaking of slavery in the U.S., Virginia is probably the first place mentioned or discussed. Virginia is rich in slave history. Many practices, traditions, and events were rooted in slavery and uplifted the system of slavery. During this time period in Virginia, no one seemed to do what was right or did anything positive for African-Americans.

For decades and centuries, people were so accustomed to living among or in slavery, that it became normalized. Slaves were hung, lynched, beaten, separated from their families, dehumanized, and even after slavery, a system was created to oppress African-Americans similar to slavery. No matter how blacks pushed to be relieved from slavery and the life that degraded them, they were still oppressed in some way.


Intentional Adaptation Check-In

According to my memory, my most recent moment of adaptation happened on September 18th.
Time decided to pick up an accelerated speed, which was a change I was not ready for.
I’ve always had a habit of biting off more than I can chew, which I know isn’t good, but I always
seemed to finish chewing before the timer went off. Well, the timer that began on September
18th at around 9:20am when I woke up, then ended at 11:59pm, the same day–and honestly I
wasn’t finished chewing. I had three assignments due that night, and only one was turned in on
time (the movement response assignment for this class that we had to record).
I then had to switch gears and go into save mode, because I needed to save myself from
fulfilling my assignments and deadlines any later. I emailed professors, spoke to my peers, and
had a little talk with myself as well. Most of my adaptation came from emotions, and the help of
others. I always appreciate the help of others and am incredibly grateful for it. In addition to that,
I used my emotions of anger that I wasn’t able to fulfill deadlines as I usually would like, as well
as my emotions of motivation from being challenged. This is what pushed me to continue and
overcome the fact that time was no longer my friend this day.
I can’t control time, but it definitely can affect me, which it did. Thankfully, it didn’t take too long
for me to adapt, but it definitely caused me to move at a faster pace and make schedule
changes that I usually wouldn’t have to make.
“Time waits on no one,” my mom would always tell me. And she’s absolutely right. Whatever we
do, we must be considerate of time. Not operate solely by time, because energy is also
important, but be mindful of time.
After this experience, I’ve begun to use my planner more to keep me updated on deadlines and
events. I’ve also kept close with friends and peers in my classes and they give me subtle
reminders as well. I’ve also started extending my minute of relaxation to 5 minutes and after this
relaxation I begin writing my to-do list and reminding myself about the assignments I need to
I am comfortable with my ability to adapt and while my skills have improved, they’re ultimately
not perfect or as close to perfect as I desire them to be. I will continue to work on adapting and
being more clear with my intentions, not only to those around me but to myself.


Choose a moment from the past few weeks, and narrate it for someone wanting to take this class or attend events next year. Develop the story as if you were still in the moment and expand on key details and interesting pieces of the moment. 

As soon as I stepped out of the taxi with my 4 peers, we began making our way to the side entrance of the Virginia Museum of History and Culture and contacted MK to meet up with her. We were greeted by her glowing face and radiant smile and she thanked us for coming. A few minutes later the other 4 students joined us and we were given a brief explanation and introduction about the exhibit.

“This is my first time here, I haven’t seen it yet,” MK said, “so we’ll be experiencing it together.” Well, what have you at least heard about it? I thought. What if it isn’t any good?

We proceeded to enter the museum, received our tickets, and met Free Egunfemi. Before we went into the museum, she said, “I’d like for us to talk about this exhibit before we enter the experience. Let’s have a seat and chat a little.” So, we all walked into one of the museum rooms, which looked like a cafeteria-auditorium duo, and introduced ourselves to Free Egunfemi. We began to tell her our names, where we were from originally, the college we attended, and a superpower we wished we had. This superpower essentially helped us to get to know others in the room and see in what way they would help change the world or even themselves. My superpower would be to shun negative energy and be able to feel it. After brief introductions, Free then began telling us about the role she plays within the Richmond community and why she felt it was necessary to attend this exhibit.

“The stories and memoirs we’ll see are what the museum has chosen to put out there,” she acknowledged. She knew of many members on the commission board which curated the exhibit. While she had nothing negative to say about the individuals or about the board itself, I heard a sense of skepticism in her voice as to what this final exhibit–being showcased to the public and the entire world about the 400-year old history of African Americans from being enslaved to gaining freedom– would look and feel like. 

From the moment that I walked into the museum, I felt a similar sense of skepticism. I saw familiar names all over the museum of people who contributed to the exhibit and were being paid some sort of honor and tribute to. The names were primarily white men and women, who had also contributed to the University of Richmond, a predominantly white school. This fact in itself made me a bit uncomfortable because I could imagine my predominantly white professors (who teach my predominantly white peers) and my school’s predominantly white donors telling the story of African-American slaves and struggles from 1619 to now– that image was not the most settling. 

Free concluded our chat with a deep breath, thanked us for coming, and told us to enjoy the exhibit. We all got up, made our way to the stairs and entered the current setting of darkness. All eleven of us, walked into the exhibit and began at either one of two sides from the entrance. There were pictures, and plaques, and archives, and I was still looking for a good reason why the museum curated this exhibit in the first place, aside from the fact that it was the 400th anniversary. I kept thinking, is it because we’re in Virginia, home of the Confederacy? Is it just something everyone’s doing down South, so are all states doing something like this? Or is it because of Free and similar organizers and heavy hitters like herself–people that aren’t afraid to ask questions and demand answers?

Throughout the entire exhibit, I kept wondering how these stories were chosen. From Nat Turner’s Revolt, to the information on NAACP’s involvement with public school segregation, to Woolworth’s lunch counter, the excerpt on Gladys West, and the quote from Dr. Carter G. Woodson. These stories seemed to be biographies and short clips, rather than memoirs and anecdotes. There was some interesting information presented, in such impassive methods, and such important, crucial information lacking. 

I thought about what Free had said, and I thought about what I knew about Virginia, the struggles and adversities African-Americans faced not only in this state, but in the country, and I thought about what I wanted people to know about my ancestors and my culture. The battles, physically and mentally, we had to overcome, the strides and long journeys we took with nothing but pain and grief on our backs. For example, lynchings that took place in several parts of the South in America, or more recently police brutality in America. There was no Eric Garner, Malcolm X, Mary Church Terrell. There were barely any faces of black people who had made changes and sacrificed much for me to be here today. Does the exhibit show all of that? Was it supposed to exhibit that side of the 400 Years? Was the exhibit even big or long enough? Without measuring of sizes and shapes, was the content at least big or rich enough? Did it leave anyone with a better, deeper understanding? 

These questions popped into my mind one after another and I couldn’t seem to find the answer to not one of them, on my own. So, after we all got the opportunity to look closely into the exhibit and the images, graphics, interactions, and displays, we all made our way back downstairs and outside. 

At first, no one had much to say, but it was obvious that it was a result of our minds vigilantly wandering. MK asked a question or two, received small short answers and just wanted to know where our ideas and thoughts were at the time. She began speaking a bit more and adding on the information she had in her head, and she even added that ironically there was nothing displayed or brought up about Gabriel–the reason why we all went. 

The class has a focus specifically around Gabriel and we implicitly expected to see him or his story in some form of nature. MK sounded a bit disappointed and slightly upset. As someone who learned about Gabriel in one of her first classes at Richmond, entitled, “Slavery in Virginia,” I also expected Gabriel to be mentioned or alluded to in some way, form, or fashion.

After viewing the exhibit, I think it’s safe to say we were all a bit disappointed and concerned about the outcome of the exhibit. However, the topics and people that the exhibit lacked, gives us the ability to tell those stories ourselves–similar to what or opening event to commemorate Gabriel’s Rebellion. 

We cannot rely on museums and the public to showcase our history and lift up our ancestors. We need to put on our own shows, performances, events, and exhibits to let the world know of our history, culture, and past. If no one else does, we need to stand up for our ancestors and pave the way for our generations in the future.

This Ain’t Appropriate.

Before going to see “Appropriate”, I purposefully did not do any research or provide myself with any background knowledge. I wanted to come in with a clean heart, mind, and thoughts, and I am glad I did.

The play contained several epic scenes, brilliant actresses/actors, and vivid lines. I learned so much about this specific family, time period, and generation. Several lines and scenes stood out to me, and moments that I would never forget.

Rachael, “the Jew wife”, played such an important role in this play and was probably my favorite character. The manner in which she dealt with this topic, which she probably would rather not have to talk about or be any part of, was admirable and meaningful. I enjoyed that the play writer starts her off as a friend or acquaintance of Toni, her sister-in-law, and throughout the play, they switch from cordial to cruel.

The topic itself was quite disturbing, but important to experience and watch. A family, putting together the pieces of their slaveowner father who has recently passed away, and digging through the remnants of his old house. The gruesome pictures and memorabilia that they encounter, is not fitting to show a child and unpleasant to discuss as an adult.

The most radical character is definitely Toni, who is in denial to the fact that her father was not the picture-perfect father she knew him to be. He was apart of a much larger crowd that in his time period of time were going around lynching African-Americans as they saw it fit. The proof was all there in front of her and her family, but she just refused to admit it. She chose to ignore the KKK mask, the horrifying pictures, the slave burial ground, and the jars of human bones.

I absolutely enjoyed that after the entire family’s unwillingness to accept their father’s mistakes and wrongdoings, Frank simply discards of the pictures and leave them all in the lake—to be destroyed, and completely out of everyone’s reach.

My biggest major question or concern in this play was the family’s quest for compensation or payment for the pictures that they had found. None of them truly cared who they were selling it to, how the people and/or their descendants would feel, and why those pictures were there in the first place. I just don’t get why they thought that selling these pictures were one of these options. So, they didn’t want to admit that their father not only owned slaves, but also killed them, however, they would gladly sell the pictures of these dead slaves for other people to watch.

Learning with little words

My initial question: How does Camille deal with the difference between the cultures of the dancers and the cultures they’re representing, if they’re allowed to make decisions and grapple with the movement?

Camille A. Brown’s work is absolutely magnificent. Her various forms of expression makes for an interesting, compelling performance. I would characterize this work as a play tampering with the difficult. I can only imagine the amount of stumbling blocks and restrictions she possibly faced.

For one, Camille uses film, dance choreography, body language, verbal speech, and stepping in her piece. Using these elements calls for a vigilant audience, but behind the scenes, as she mentioned, it takes lots of time and preparation.

I particularly enjoy the social dancing that Brown works with and how it transforms to stage so beautifully. Her commitment to showcasing dances and movements of all time periods and styles, is fully present in her work. She takes you through a tour, more or less, and let’s you enjoy and celebrate them as well.

I’m not familiar with many dance companies, but in comparison to previous dances that I’ve seen, Camille’s style is very different. But, I admire that it is different and it causes the audience to appreciate her work in a different way. The constant rhythm changes, the tapping of the feet mixed with clapping, the bodily gestures, and the choice of words, all tie into this one grand performance. Leaving Camille’s piece meant leaving with knowledge. She incorporates a lot of educational material in her dancing, and does it so subtly that you don’t even notice you’ve just absorbed so much new information.

I can definitely see a connection between Brown’s work and what Free and MK are doing for our upcoming performance. Learning through dance is so powerful and necessary and can hit the target on many takeaways that words just cannot. The history and culture of African-Americans are far more complex then words can announce. When dance is included in this teaching style, the audience completely changes and the message, while similar, becomes so rich in other aspects that words simply don’t fulfill.

I’m glad that Brown has taken the unpopular route and chosen to work with social dance. I feel that it is very necessary and a style of art that we should all embrace. I look forward to seeing more pieces like this and exploring this in our performance as well.

My followup question: How can you find the perfect balance with all of the elements included? Do you just go with the right feeling?

Description is Key

Digital stories are a great way to present your audience with information that they typically would not encounter. Digital stories use a mixture of pictures, videos, audio, and film, to provide the audience with vivid imagery of the topic. My favorite part of a digital story is the audio because it can really shape the message or moral that the audience takes away.

After watching the digital story about Harvey Milk, I was really impressed by how detailed the storyteller was and the way she chose to narrate the story. The story starts off with background information and continues through a timeline, showing what Milk had accomplished overtime. I learned a lot about the LGBTQ+ community and the backlash they faced, especially during the time Milk was running for office. I had never heard of Milk and accomplishments, but after watching this story, I can describe him and speak to his character.

I would agree that this was a moving story, in the sense that it brought up a subject that isn’t commonly and openly discussed, but is very important. History should not only be discussed in textbooks or library books, but in conversations and stories as well. This digital story presented history in captivating and cohesive way. It made the audience want to learn more and want to really understand the subject at hand. The story was filled with descriptive language and various pictures, and had a great narrator. I would possibly change the order in which the narrator presented the story, and I would give the story a twist or moment of wonder. Overall, the story was a great one.
I also watched “Ammons Family Scrapbook”, which was a story on a family that lived in Virginia. One of the family members created a detailed scrapbook showcasing all of the family members at different occasions during the 1900s. The creator of the scrapbook chose specific moments and cut out specific people to paste into his scrapbook. The narrator does a great job of nudging us to pay attention to the nuances in the book, that are interesting and have some underlying messages.

I really enjoyed watching this digital story, because of the way it’s organized and the details that the narrator expresses. I would possibly be a little more creative with the scrapbook, if I were telling this story, but I don’t think that there’s anything missing from the story. When I create my story I’d like to use a different construction technique and I would avoid using the traditional chronological flow of a story. I would use a similar descriptive tone and also provide my audience with as much useful, accurate information as possible.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén