Artist's Statement 

I respond to things that I do not understand; my work as an artist is a process of coming to terms with what I otherwise am unable to reconcile. In reading The Autobiography of W.E.B. Du Bois I met such a situation: In 1950 at the age of eighty-three, Du Bois (along with four colleagues from the Peace Information Center) was indicted by the Department of Justice for refusing to register as “agents of a foreign principal.” The defendants were acquitted on the basis that the prosecution failed to support the allegations, but not without the personal trauma of being accused and the burden of public scrutiny caused by the trial. I was struck by the Cold War rhetoric and the demonization of a man who should instead have been celebrated for a lifetime commitment to the advancement of the lives of peoples of African descent, but more importantly how, despite the realities of age, Du Bois persisted in the face of nonsensical opposition to labor for what he believed to be just into his final years. This project began by gathering what I knew — the chronicles of spoken word and song. The aural has a way of claiming space, of moderating and soothing what cannot otherwise be assuaged. It summons you to listen. The FBI files were something I came upon by chance (if there is such a thing). These, at times heavily, redacted files offer witness, what is removed forms a tale of its own of elegiac proportion, evidence of persisting secrets and forbidden truths. My resolute removal of the removal, the cutting out to cancel, to void the space of redaction, perhaps an act of futility, nevertheless stands as a small gesture, a nod in recognition of what we lose when we do not allow the space for dissent, when we condemn to silence what is different.