Romi Crawford explores the affective bonds that ensue from scenes of collective black consciousness. She launches her article on the premise that each event has unique and complicated pre-stories that are harder to get to, but awareness of which helps in better understanding both the vision and effort that have gone into manufacturing and formalizing a global black consciousness. The author offers a case that directly links the global articulation of black consciousness in Lagos, Nigeria, at the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC ’77) with an earlier, local articulation of black consciousness on Chicago’s South Side in 1967 in order to illustrate how local dimensions of black consciousness relate to the making of a global black consciousness. Crawford’s starting point is a photo archive of Bob Crawford, her father, a photographer who worked in the reportage vein in Chicago in the 1960s and early ’70s. The elder Crawford traveled to Lagos, Nigeria, in 1977 for FESTAC as part of the delegation of American artists who were invited to attend. Ten years before his FESTAC experience he had been active photographing at the Wall of Respect, a mural at 43rd and Langley in Chicago made by the Organization of Black American Culture that expressed the ethos of black liberation. In looking at the relationship between these two particular events, Crawford considers how the photographic representation of gatherings of black people and congresses is significant and even serves to perpetuate future occasions. The photo documents that report these gatherings are important in themselves to black consciousness making and very much part of its apparatus.
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Romi Crawford; The Event of the Photograph: Black Consciousness from the Wall of Respect ’67 to FESTAC ’77. Nka 1 November 2018; 2018 (42-43): 154–163. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-7185773
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