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The Land

Artist Blog by Harlan Bozeman

Very few changes in Phillips County over a short period. Old cotton gin warehouses linger and decay. Vehicles and farm equipment take on growth and become intertwined with the land. When I first saw the tree I could tell it was slowly dying, I just didn’t think it would be so soon. James told me about the tree in October of 2020. It had been there his whole life and according to his grandfather and several other residents of Elaine, it used to be the hanging tree for the white residents of Phillips County. The hanging tree rests along the same road, less than two minutes away from the location that sparked the massacre. A hundred years later in 2019, Black residents of Elaine wanted to plant a commemorative tree only to have it chopped down weeks later. The second tree they planted mysteriously rotted and died.

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