I’ve lived for 20 years in historic Thomas Square in a house that dates to the 1870s, and in that time the neighborhood has changed in many ways — mostly good ways.
My house has only a narrow front porch — a larger porch on the west side of the house was demolished long before I moved in — but there’s still plenty of room to sit out there. I don’t sit out there, however. Some of the neighborhood’s residents — mostly black, mostly older — still sit on their porches a lot, but porches are no longer the civic meeting points that they once were.
From the Facebook event description:
An icon of the Deep South that can be found at all latitudes, the front porch is a place to slow down, spend time together, and to cool off during the dog days of summer. As varied spaces of relaxation, surveillance, leisure and democratic discourse, front porches hold a unique place between the private world of home and family and the public world of civic and street life. In Starland, four front porches will become creative platforms to examine themes that are as essential to our communities as porches are to our homes: empathy, survival, pleasure and emancipation. By honoring activist histories and bringing new voices to the table, we will span past and present to consider how social change takes root.
I’m going to quibble a little with the use of the term “Starland” here. I was one of the first journalists to write about Starland, and I use the term routinely to describe the area immediately around the old Starland Dairy (still unrenovated btw) at Bull and 40th streets, but I don’t think the term sensibly applies to blocks east of Abercorn. The Thomas Square Streetcar Historic District has been a National Register Historic District since 1997, and the short version of that — Thomas Square — works just fine for me.
Curators Lisa Junkin Lopez and Stephanie Raines brought the following performers to the Artists of Social Change:
- House of Gunt
- Abeni Cultural Arts Performing Dance Center
- Martin Bell, PostCrunk
- Patt Gunn, Master Storyteller and Geechee Girl Productions
I bought a new lens last week, so I was experimenting some with my camera settings. I was happy with a lot of the photos, and I’m going to present these in chronological order, even though it means that the shots aren’t sorted logically. I think this presentation gives a clearer sense of what it was like to wander 39th Street on Sunday. Congrats to all involved.
And this is what 35th Street looked like while I was walking home: