Let’s Chat About Civil Rights / Let’s Chat About Civic Memory (2016)

Let’s Chat About Civil Rights / Let’s Chat About Civic Memory was installed in April 2016 at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa at the behest of St. Ambrose University. The images, by Melissa Mendes and Sheika Lugtu—a Ladydrawers collaboration—are accompanied by oral histories from local Quad Cities residents regarding two major aspects of Davenport’s participation in the struggle for civil rights, and the public commemoration of those struggles: the fight for equal marriage and black history.

The interviews, conducted by Chris Reno and Tessa Pozzi of SAU’s Catich Gallery and edited by Anne Elizabeth Moore, focused on how folks defined and experienced civil rights, and what visible reminders of past struggles they had located in their community. Questions were inspired by articles on the queerest cities in America;this amazing wedding; and the city’s destruction of sites of black history, as well as this powerpoint presentation on civil rights in Iowa and this video (from SAU!) on a planned civil rights walking tour. The window mural was a part of SAU’s Fair Play conference, originally intended for an on-campus site but moved over administrative objections to the mural’s content.

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