(Photo via Creative District/Facebook)
Fifty years ago, in the aftermath of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination, Wilmington’s Eastside and West Center City spent nine months under National Guard occupation — the longest domestic military occupation during peacetime in U.S. history — in response to the April 9 protests.
Delaware has never fully recovered.
In remembrance of the demonstrations and the subsequent occupation, historical exhibitions like the one at the Delaware Art Museum bring the events back to life with photos, stories and community forums.
"Black Survival Guide or How to Survive a Police Riot" by @hankwillisthomas now showing @DelArtMuseum through Sept. 30. This work casts an reflective eye back 50 years, in honor of the 1968 civil rights protests. A FF town hall will take place at the museum on Sep. 24. pic.twitter.com/LUf5vy7rnj
— ForFreedoms (@for_freedoms) July 21, 2018
The Rock Lot, a “pocket park” located at 305 W. 8th St. in what is now Wilmington’s Creative District, was part of the occupied area in 1968. On Aug. 22, Ashley S.K. Davis of Pieces of a Dream will present a dance and dialogue workshop about the community in 1968 Wilmington and how the events of that year continue to affect the city.
The Rock Lot opened in August 2017, the first project of Vacant to Vibrant, funded by National Endowment for the Arts, the Delaware Economic Development Office, Nemours, the Delaware State Legislature and the Delaware Department of Justice. Designed by Groundswell Design Group with seating designed and constructed by The Challenge Program, the space hosts regular outdoor events, including spoken word, community art projects and a seasonal drumming circle on Tuesdays.
The 1968 workshop will serve as inspiration for a commissioned interdisciplinary collaboration between Davis and visual artist Terrence Vann, which will be presented at the Delaware Art Museum on Sept. 16 at 1 p.m.-30-
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