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The Court

Artist Blog by Harlan Bozeman

There are people in this town who do not want to talk about it, rightly so. And there are people in this town who have to talk about it. Yet, there are also people in this town who believe the massacre was/is fake news. The racial divide is as strong as ever in Elaine, Arkansas creating a culture of silence and negligence in a community of about 500 people that has yet to heal truly.

“Out The E” is a long-term, ongoing collaboration that confronts the many ways historical trauma can permeate throughout a community. My first visit to Elaine in 2020 was a lonely one until the basketball court appeared. Kids of all ages shoot hoops and ride four-wheelers through loose gravel. It is the only place in the town where they can be themselves freely. Elaine does not have enough resources and since the town’s school district closed in 2005, sustaining a place for Black children was never a priority for the city council. Children in Elaine had been attending school in a town about an hour away twice a week due to COVID-19. The Marvell-Elaine School District is failing and has since become the first school district in Arkansas to enter a “transformational contract” with a charter school organization based in Washington D.C. for the 2023-2024 school year.

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