Looking Back: 9/11 Across America
An Acoustic Exhibition of American Voices in the Aftermath of Attack
September 11–18, 2002
From these tapes, the Center for Documentary Studies, an affiliate of Duke University, has produced an acoustic exhibition reflecting how/what Americans across the country thought and felt in the immediate aftermath. These are voices that didn't make the evening news programs. These are sentiments that address the event's impact, from the perhaps quieter vantage point of physical distance but with no less poignancy and echoes of distress.
Photo by Jannelle Weakly
To open the ASM exhibition, in memory of those who lost their lives one year before, Daniel Preston (Tohono O'odham) offered an American Indian blessing. Following the blessing, the Manuel Intertribal Dance Group, led by Cecil Manuel (Akimel O'odham), sang a flag song and a victory song, and performed the Hoop, Eagle and Women's Fancy Shawl Dances on the front lawn of the museum's north building.
The museum augmented the acoustic presentation with a small but dazzling display of Plains and Western Apache beadwork with U.S. flag motifs, dating from 1890-1970. Though it may seem incongruous, native artists have long produced works incorporating the American flag. "This past year we've seen a proliferation of the flag in basketry, jewelry, weavings, sculpture and paintings," says ethnographic curator Diane Dittemore. "Just as all Americans have felt the need to, native artists are expressing their patriotism to assist in assuaging our collective grief over last year's unspeakable tragedy."
In 1976 Congress created the American Folklife Center (http://lcweb.loc.gov/folklife) at the Library of Congress to preserve and present American folklife. The center incorporates the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established at the Library in 1928 as a repository for American folk music. The center and its collections have grown to encompass all aspects of folklore and folklife from this country and around the world.
The Center for Documentary Studies (http://cds.aas.duke.edu), founded in 1989 as an affiliate of Duke University, connects the arts and humanities to fieldwork, drawing upon photography, filmmaking, oral history, folklore, and writing as catalysts for education and change. CDS achieves this work through academic courses, research, oral history and other fieldwork, gallery and traveling exhibitions, annual awards, book publishing, documentary radio programs, community-based projects, and public events.
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Photos by Marnie Sharp unless otherwise indicated
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