Performance ‘Art’ – Dismantling Structural Racism in Colonial Monuments

Performance ‘Art’ – Dismantling Structural Racism in Colonial Monuments

D. Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson
Bowling Green State University

Fifty years after the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation in America in 1863, confederate sympathizers erected monuments and statues from 1911 to 1915 coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the war[1]. The confederacy[2] had lost the war and the bid to continue chattel slavery in Southern states. Its claim for building confederate statues was to honor confederate soldiers who fought to protect the confederacy; but in fact, reinforced white supremacy[3], and built confederate monuments to intimidate recently emancipated Black[4] Americans[5]. White supremacy is the belief that white people are inherently superior to other groups of people, ethnicities, and “races”[6]. Since the 1890s, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), a group of white women who claimed to be descended from confederate soldiers, sponsored over seven hundred confederate statues, monuments, and symbols across Southern states, with four hundred alone between 1911 and 1915[7]. The UDC’s mission was to prepare future generations of white southerners to preserve confederate culture that supported slavery and defended slave owners[8]. Waves of confederate monument constructions occurred at key historical moments, including shortly after the Civil War in 1863, and when Black Americans gained emancipation from slavery; and again after the 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson law that instituted segregation laws, colloquially called “Jim Crow”[9]. Another spike in constructions of confederate statues occurred during the Civil Rights era in the 1950s and 1960s when Black Americans agitated for civil rights[10]. The UDC sponsored numerous other statues well into the twentieth- and early twenty-first centuries, with the most recent in 2011[11]. Similarly, with other colonial histories around the world, colonial monuments can be found across Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, for example, the statue of the seventeenth century slave merchant Edward Colston in Bristol, England[12], or the monument to the notorious nineteenth century King Leopold II of Belgium who abused Africans in the Congo[13]. Colonial monuments as glorified artworks helped to reinforce colonialism, defined as the political and social control of one country over another country/territory, and in occupying the country as settlers, and exploiting it culturally, and economically.[14]

Over a hundred and fifty years later, there is something to be said about colonial monuments as “art,” those edifices that continue to uphold white supremacy and racist logic, which is a thought process seen as normal and rational, embedded in much of the law, health care, education, and representations in arts and media. Arguing that the ideals of imperialism inherent in colonial monuments should be protected as “art” is absurd. That colonial statues cast heavy shadows of oppression remains true. Colonial statues embody how peoples are oppressed by reinforcing the violence contained in them. With COVID-19 ravaging Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities in 2020, generational health and wealth gaps, inequalities in all areas of life were laid bare. It was as if a band aid was ripped off to uncover the everyday injustices brought about by racism so pervasive in every facet of life. The choking to death of George Floyd by a police officer who maintained his knee on his neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis ignited a racial reckoning around the world. In the United States, antiracist activists defaced hundreds of statues that claimed to honor the confederacy. In other cases, activist-artists created live art forms by projecting the images of George Floyd and pride flag colors on the statue of Robert E. Lee, a confederate general in Richmond, Virginia in June, 2020.[15] In Bristol, England, antiracist protestors dumped the statue of Edward Colston, a seventeenth century slave trader in Bristol Harbour’s River Avon; and in Antwerp, Belgium, antiracist protestors burned and removed the statue of King Leopold II, who terrorized Africans in the Congo.[16] Not surprisingly, Eurocentric critics decried the toppling of colonial monuments as the destruction of “art.” In my view, the art of imperialism is not “art,” but is for colonial and racist propaganda. Because colonial monuments uphold and maintain white supremacy as the “art” of imperialism, they should be housed in museums as relics with historical significance of the time they were made; but certainly, they should not be celebrated, since they continue to justify the oppression and racial violence.

My study examines these protests as performances of resistance against colonial monuments that signify a legacy of slavery and white supremacy leading to the tragic end of Black lives. I utilize performance as a research analysis in understanding the actions, reactions against colonial monuments and what they represent and signify. Performance is a range of practices, acts, and a “living history.”[17] Performance is any act, action, behavior, or presentation done for audiences/spectators that can be artistic in the visual, theatre, and literary arts, or can be cultural in festivals, masquerades, and in everyday life situations or events.[18] Performance can be a ritual, sacred or secular, in the belief that the ritual will activate a change, or can be actualized through belief and repetition. For example, chanting in a religious ceremony or in a protest can reaffirm participants who believe that an event or miracle or change is happening through repetition, movements, and intentions.[19] Barry Stephenson states that “ritual as a metacategory, includes both religious and nonreligious rites, the traditional and the new, the prescribed and the improvised, the human and the nonhuman, and rubs up against a number of other cultural domains, such as play, games, performance, and theater.”[20] Understanding ritual in performance explains how processes in protests, political systems, and activism are enacted. When the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) sponsors the building of statues to the confederacy, they believe that through their repetitive actions, they are maintaining white supremacy for generations. When activists tear down colonial monuments, they believe that through their repetitive chants and actions, they are tearing down white supremacy, racism, and colonialism. Just like spiritual manifestations or transubstantiation in religious and spiritual contexts, colonial monuments are not merely symbols of white supremacy but embody and become white supremacy itself with limitless power by the shadows they cast.

In my research, I analyze performances in protests during the 2020 summer of racial reckoning, specifically the acts of defacing and tearing down of colonial statues, to understand whether or not protestors are reacting to symbolic representations, literally and figuratively, putting an end to white supremacy and racism that sanction racial violence against Black and Indigenous people. My research question hinges on how the toppling of colonial monuments is not only a symbol or metaphor, but a performance, tantamount to ending white supremacy. By this, I mean that protestors who deface and break down monuments are performing as if to tear down racial systems and institutions. In the act of destroying colonial monuments, activists enact a belief in ending racism. Therefore, I argue that acts of defacing colonial monuments are performances in dismantling the structures and systems of race and power in geopolitical and cultural spaces. Some critics may be cynical about ending racism by destroying inanimate objects. However, the wave of protests and spontaneous reactions around the world speak to a hopeful future, towards meaningful change, and reimagining Black lives.

First, I will explore the concept of performance in protests, and its theoretical underpinnings in postcolonial theory, race, and racism. I utilize the interdisciplinary theories in performance studies to analyze the global racial reckoning and protests as performances at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. I will analyze performances by activists tearing down the seventeenth century statue of slave merchant Edward Colston in Bristol, England, and dragging the edifice through the streets before hurling it in the Bristol Harbour in the River Avon.[21] Then in a spontaneous moment, a Black woman, Jen Reid climbed to the top of the empty plinth and stood in place of the Colston statue, with one fist in the air. Sculptor Marc Quinn saw the Instagram photo of Jen Reid on the plinth in Bristol, and was inspired to create a life size sculpture of Jen Reid, “Surge of Power (Jen Reid), 2020,” who embodied the moment and occupied the space where the colonial monument of Edward Colston stood.[22] I will discuss the process of creating the sculpture, “Surge of Power (Jen Reid), 2020” by Marc Quinn, overnight after the statue of Edward Coston was torn down and replaced by the early twenty-first century figure of a Black woman, Jen Reid, in a euphoric moment of change to come.

Performance

Performance studies is an interdisciplinary field that draws upon the humanities, social sciences, and the arts; and consequently employs interdisciplinary methodologies including, but not limited to performance analysis, ethnography, observer/participant field work, historiography.[23] Performance studies focusses on, and analyzes “performance” as an object of inquiry to analyze social, cultural, political interactions among people, including studies in ethnicity, race, gender, sex, class, and other human interactions.[24] Victor Turner defines performance from the old French word, parfournir which means “to accomplish” a task[25]. Erving Goffman conceptualizes performance as “theatre” in everyday life.[26] For example, individuals as “actors” perform differently at work than they do at home or at a concert. People may present different versions of themselves in any number of events.[27] Schechner argues that “performance means: never for the first time. It means: for the second to the nth time. Performance is twice behaved” explaining the rehearsed nature and repetition in performance.[28]

L. Austin coined the term “performative” language in speech act theory that brings the power of speech into action. With performative language, words enact immediate change in status. For example, the command, “Let there be light” in the Judeo-Christian creation story, or “I do” in a marriage ceremony causes immediate changes in being and status.[29] Performance, on the other hand, is a deliberate act to disrupt performative utterances, especially when applied to colonial monuments, and can be described as performative in what they represent and signify.

White supremacy and racism have always been constructed, engineered, and deployed by the very ideals of whiteness in images, replicas, and monuments of power in spaces, permanently set in geographical and cultural landscapes, and to justify their presence and function in the state and nation. In addition, colonial monuments are like, what Joseph Roach calls, surrogation, “the theatrical principle of substitution of one persona for another”[30]. As surrogation and substitutions of colonial regimes, these statues and symbols loom large over oppressed peoples in laws, ordinances, and institutions. They embody performative utterances that uphold white supremacy, and become and embody racism wherever they are displayed in the public sphere – in front of courthouses, town squares, landmarks, parks, street signs, or universities.

Any reaction against colonial monuments is a postcolonial performance. Postcolonial theory emerged as a distinct field in the 1990s[31]. Foundational work in postcolonial theory includes Frantz Fanon and Edward Said prior to the term “postcolonial theory” being used in scholarship[32] Postcolonial theory is in response to the impacts of European colonialism on cultures and societies in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, first as a literary theory, and later in film, and the visual and performing arts[33]. Helen Gilbert and Joanne Tompkins point out that the “post” in “postcolonial” does not signify “after” independence from Europe, but that postcolonialism occurred from the very first point of contact and interaction with Europe in conquests, slavery, and imperialism[34]. Like colonialism, neocolonialism continues to the present impacting financial aid to so-called “third world,” language, culture, education, the arts, health care disparities, lack of access, housing discrimination, and land acquisition in colonized countries[35]. Neocolonialism includes interactions with major world powers like the United States and European countries, and their influences and/or interference in other countries’ affairs and policies[36]. The act of toppling monuments, decapitating statues that glorify slave traders and

infamous imperialists are postcolonial performances, organized or spontaneous[37].

Postcolonial performances are acts of decoloniality, and resistant performances. According to Marvin Carlson “the central concern of resistant performance arises from the dangerous game it plays as a double-agent, recognizing that in the postmodern world complicity and subversion are inextricably intertwined.” [38] However, resistant performances, and especially subversive ones, are not without danger. Resistance is not resistant unless danger exists. That antiracist activists would put their bodies on the line is exactly what resistance is about, especially when navigating racism fraught with danger. Scholars have long theorized race as a category, and identity, but do not sufficiently address the system and institution of race, nor how to effectively dismantle and end it. Antiracism activists, on the other hand, understand the need to end racism. In racial formation theory, Michael Omi and Howard Winant argue that race is an ever-changing socially constructed identity, and that constructed racial categories were used over time to justify discrimination and inequalities.[39] Omi and Winant further explain in theory what racial formation is, and what it does over the course of history to contemporary moment in groups and categories. In addition, Galen A. Foresman et al. agree that “race” and “racism” have always been used “to organize various social institutions, practices, and distributions of goods[40]”. Foresman et al. assert that race and racism are not without danger and violence, covert and overt, pervading every area of society, organized structures, dominant institutions that people are not necessarily conscious of everyday occurrences. In my view, colonial statues have kept race and racism at the forefront of every institution, a constant reminder to “raced” people. Because race and racism are so fixed and unchanging in all areas of society, some critics have theorized a self-identity as if to counter the effects of racial formation. E. Patrick Johnson, for example, claims that “the fact of blackness is not always self-constituting […] Blackness, too, is slippery – ever beyond the reach of one’s grasp. Once you think you have a hold on it, it transforms into something else and travels in another direction”[41]. Johnson theorizes Blackness as a fluid identity, already self-actualized in Black culture. Consequently, Johnson resists “racist constructions of blackness, for example, [that] associate it with denigration, impurity, nature and the body”[42]. He theorizes that “the mutual constructing/deconstructing, avowing/disavowing, and the expanding/delimiting dynamic that occurs in the production of blackness is the very thing that constitutes ‘black’ culture”[43]. On one level, I agree in part with Johnson about the fluidity of Black culture and identity because they definitely illustrate overlapping categories of Black queer identities of being Black, male, trans, or American.

However, a Black self-identity process still does not protect someone from race and racism, nor does it address systemic racism. It does not protect the Black person from being followed around shops, from being profiled as Black, nor from extrajudicial killings by the police or civilians because perpetrators are afraid for their lives. No matter how one chooses to express Blackness, it still does not protect, and does not go far enough. Fanon explains the experience of Blackness, being called a “Negro” by a white child in the streets of Paris, France: “‘Look, a Negro, Maman, a Negro!’ […] My body was returned to me spread-eagled. Disjointed, redone, draped in mourning on this white winter’s day”[44]. In a disembodied experience, Fanon puts into words the humiliation and inhumanity in the moment – embedded in dominant institutions that create monuments and statues to reinforce violent attacks.

Harvey Young further theorizes Blackness as “the mystery of blackness, which manages to become a fact through repeated deployment across a range of bodies, encourages the (mis)identification of individuated bodies (a body) as the black body”[45]. For Young, white mobs held lynching victims as “souvenirs” and “fetishes” by white mobs, that continued in the racial profiling and surveillance of Black people today.[46] He contends that “my body is the futured body of my great-great-grandmother, my great-grandmother, my grandmother, and my mother. It is the future manifestation of my ancestors’ bodies viewed from a past perspective in which the future past, the futured, is the then-present that is now.”[47]Through a matrilineal line, Young shows the violence of race, so pervasive, and bound up in Blackness, but does not address systemic racism.

At the forefront of postcolonial and antiracist activism is a desire to end structural racism. Black Lives Matter Movement is one such group working to eradicating racism. Black Lives Matter was born in the United States in 2013, when three Black Queer women, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi organized protests in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman who killed the Black teenager, Trayvon Martin in February 26, 2012[48]. Black Lives Matter’s official name of “Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, Inc.” is now a transnational organization in the USA, UK, and Canada[49]. Its mission is to end white supremacy and to protect Black communities from state and vigilante racial terror and violence. Black Lives Matter’s thirteen guiding principles include: “diversity, restorative justice, globalism, Queer affirming, unapologetically Black, collective value, empathy, loving engagement, transgender affirming, Black villages, Black women, Black families, and intergenerational”[50]. Since 2013, Black Lives Matter has been active in cases against police brutality and extrajudicial killings of Black people in the USA and around the world. In practical ways, antiracist activists have been pushing beyond theories to recover the full humanity of Blackness, not as fatalistic figures, but as thriving communities.

Summer of Racial Reckoning, 2020

 In the summer of 2020, the ground quaked with a racial reckoning. Black Lives Matter activists and protestors, the world over, took to the streets to protest the killing of George Floyd, a forty-six year old Black man by a Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin. It all began on May 25, 2020 when Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao arrested Floyd outside a convenience store in his car, after receiving a call that Floyd used a counterfeit twenty dollar bill to buy items.[51] This altercation and arrest subsequently ended after seventeen minutes when police officer Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck to pin him to the ground for eight minutes and forty-six seconds. Floyd’s hands were tied behind his back, rendering him incapacitated, as he suffocated with the police officer’s knee on Floyd’s neck.[52] By May 29, Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman announced second degree manslaughter and third degree murder charges against police officer Derek Chauvin who had his knee on Floyd’s neck. By June 3, Hennepin County prosecutors added the more serious charge of second-degree murder against Chauvin; and added new charges of aiding and abetting, second-degree murder to the other police officers at the scene.[53] According to the opening arguments in the criminal trial of Derek Chauvin on Monday, March 28, 2021 in Minneapolis, USA, the actual time stamp of Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck was nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds[54]. However, “eight minutes and forty-six seconds” became the rallying cry against police brutality, as the symbolic time stamp in preliminary investigations for how long police officer Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck until Floyd expired.

That fateful event, the killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, ignited the toppling of confederate statues and monuments all over the United States. Since the summer of racial reckoning in 2020, activists have removed over one hundred Confederate statues and monuments across the United States calling for an end to racism and white supremacy[55]. A national debate about removing confederate symbols and statues occurred five years earlier in 2015 after white supremacist Dylan Roof shot and killed nine Black Church members in the historic Mother Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Activists called for the removal of confederate flags and symbols across the American South, beginning with the removal of confederate flag at the statehouse grounds in South Carolina, and later the street names, city seals, statues, monuments, and state holidays that revere and uphold the confederacy, confederate leaders, white supremacy and racism[56]. Not only did statues and monuments topple all over the United States, but so too in Africa as African campaigners referred to this moment as a “global reckoning,” calling on lawmakers to remove names of colonialists, slave owners, and members of the British Royal family from streets, lakes, landmarks, and statues[57].

In Uganda, for example, the Kaziranga National Park in Uganda was renamed after Queen Elizabeth II of England visited Uganda in 1954 ; and now activists wanted to restore the original name to the Kaziranga National Park[58]. Former European colonists named streets and monuments in Uganda and Nigeria after Sir Frederick Lugard, praising colonial conquests in Africa at the expense of dehumanizing African people[59]. Activists claimed that removing names and monuments was only one step in the process of decolonizing Africa[60]. In Cape Town, South Africa, activists decapitated the statue of British colonialist Cecil Rhodes; and in England, protestors called for the removal of the Cecil Rhodes statue outside of Oriel College at Oxford University who studied at Oxford University.[61] Cecil Rhodes was a renowned racist and white supremacist, an imperialist businessman, and Prime Minister of the Cape Colony in present-day South Africa in 1890.[62] In Europe, activists agitated for the removal of colonial statues of King Leopold II of Belgium in Antwerp’s public square in the summer of global racial reckoning in 2020[63]. King Leopold II was responsible for atrocities in the Congo from the late nineteenth century. In fact, there were several monuments, statues, streets, and parks dedicated to King Leopold II, credited for bringing “civilization” to the Congo, and was taught to Belgians for decades. Now in this global racial reckoning, Belgians were now coming to terms with the legacy of colonialism in Africa, and of upholding oppressive colonial regimes, supported by the Belgian monarchy and state. Soon, another statue of King Leopold II was set on fire, and another was painted red, and yet another was wrapped in the flag from the Democratic Republic of Congo[64].

On June 7, 2020, Black Lives Matter activists in Bristol, England tore down the statue of the seventeenth century slave merchant Edward Colston in Bristol, England, dragged it through the streets, before dumping it in Bristol Harbour.[65] Jen Reid, a Black Lives Matter activist, said she was not planning to attend the protest that day; but at the last minute, decided to go with her husband, Alasdair Doggart. Once the crowd pulled down the Edward Colston statue, Reid spontaneously climbed up on top of the empty plinth[66]. To cheering crowds, Reid posed with one fist in the air, feet firmly planted. Her husband, Alasdair took pictures of Reid on the plinth; and posted it to his Instagram account. London-based sculptor Marc Quinn saw this image of Reid on the plinth as significant of the moment; and was inspired to create a sculpture of Reid[67]. Quinn quickly contacted Reid to request her permission to pose for him to make a temporary sculpture of her in place of the Colston statue. Quinn made a life-sized sculpture of Reid from black resin and steel after doing three-dimensional scans of Reid, using over two hundred cameras to capture all angles of her body as she posed the iconic image of her fist in the air in his studio[68]. Quinn did not acquire permission from Bristol authorities to create a public sculpture to replace the Colston statue, now dumped in the River Avon in Bristol Harbour. However, Quinn captured the spontaneity of the moment, especially the ongoing debate about Britain’s racial reckoning with colonialism, slavery, and racism. Quinn created a new statue, Surge of Power (Jen Reid), 2020, that would only be a temporary sculpture on the plinth, but was incredibly effective a new monument[69].

As a member of the infamous Young British Artists (YBA) that emerged in the 1980s, Quinn and other artists were known for their extreme shock-value art. He broke all protocol by secretly installing the new statue, “Surge of Power (Jen Reid), 2020,” on the Colston plinth in the wee hours of the morning before using a hydraulic crane truck to hoist the statue in place. This secret act in itself was rebellious[70]. The sculpture, “Surge of Power (Jen Reid), 2020” stood for a full twenty-five hours before the city authorities ordered the sculpture to be removed, stating that any new sculpture should be decided by the residents of Bristol[71]. City authorities fished the Colston statue from the Bristol Harbour so it could be restored and displayed in a museum with Black Lives Matter placards that was placed at the base of the plinth during the protest[72]. What this series of events revealed was a highly charged, ritualized performance that entailed interaction between the colonial monument and activists. Reid’s and Quinn’s performances embodied rebellious acts of decoloniality in removing the colonial statue, and replacing it with a new statue, supporting antiracism, humanity, and Black Lives Matter. This performance involved Jen Reid standing on top of the plinth in the place where, for one hundred and twenty-five years, the old colonial statue of slave trader Edward Colston stood as a reminder to Black residents of a continuing oppressive system. In a ritual performance, the activist tore down, and dragged the Colston statue through the streets before dumping it in the River Avon in Bristol Harbour. This was more than a gesture, and much more than a symbol; but was a performance, intended to end white supremacy and racism through various interactions with it.

Conclusion

 Just after the Civil War in 1863 in the United States, white women from the United Daughter’s of the Confederacy (UDC) sponsored the construction of hundreds of monuments to the confederacy, especially during key moments against equality, such as the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, and the institution of “Jim Crow” with the1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson segregation law[73]. The UDC built new confederate statues in earnest at the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil War and Emancipation, and again during the Civil Rights in the 1960s, and throughout the twentieth century and early twenty-first century, with the most recent monument in 2011[74]. The UDC and confederate sympathizers claimed that these statues were art works commemorating and rewriting Civil War history[75]. In contrast, a sole Black woman, Jen Reid, spontaneously climbed up and stood on top of the empty Colston plinth, as a new living statue, clenched fist in the air, a universal sign of social justice and equality, ushering a new era, and as a living monument. This performance art moment was a performance that dismantled white supremacy and ended racism that led to the killing of George Floyd. As Young explains, the lynched Black body was a “souvenir” for white mobs[76]. Soyica Diggs Colbert argues that the Black body was seen as dismembered and mutilated, especially with reference to the racist rage meted out on Emmett Till, and the perils of a Black body under threat[77]. Young and Colbert illustrate how the Black body has been treated throughout its history to explain the current problems in racism. While Young’s and Colbert’s theories counter notions in Johnson’s concept of performing Blackness as a fluid and free being with choice and agency, they still cannot protect the Black figure from being a dismembered image, nor do they explain and critique racism as systemic.

Unlike performance theories of the fatalistic and fetishized Black body, antiracist activists call for an end to systemic racism, and reject the fatalistic Black image so frequently represented in art and life. Ibram X. Kendi states that antiracism is centered on the belief of “racial groups as equal in their apparent differences – that there is nothing wrong with any racial group. Antiracist ideas argue that racist policies are the cause of racial inequalities.”[78] Antiracism is concerned with ending racism by consciously establishing diversity, inclusion and equity by first being aware of, and then taking steps to end racism.[79] As theorists debate the travails of Blackness, even replaying the racial violence on Black bodies over and over again, activists on the ground offer an alternative in rejecting racial violence, and in critiquing the systems that endorse it.

Antiracist activists who deface and destroy colonial monuments do so with the full understanding of ending white supremacy and colonialism that have sanctioned racial violence, literally and figuratively. In protests as ritual performances, political systems and activism are enacted and embodied. As protestors tear down colonial monuments, they do so with the belief that they are toppling institutions that reinforce white supremacy, racism, and colonialism; and in tangible ways, have moved towards reimagining a new antiracist world by building new structures and coalitions. So, when a Black woman, Jen Reid stands up on the Colston plinth as a live performance and living monument, she is asking, “where are our statues, and new heritage sites?” “Where are our symbols and monuments to our freedom fighters too numerous to mention?” Hatuey[80], Nanny of the Maroons[81], Dutty Boukman[82], Sitting Bull of the Lakata Sioux Nation[83], Harriett Tubman[84], Denmark Vesey[85], Nat Turner[86], Nganga Nzumbi[87], Lee Yick[88], Sojouner Truth[89], Ida B. Wells-Barnett[90], Toussaint Louverture[91], Buffalo Calf Road Woman of the Cheyenne Nation[92], on and on, and so many more.

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  • Johnson, E. Patrick, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and The Politics of Authenticity. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2003.
  • Kenney, Tanasia, “Dutty Boukman, The Fearless Leader Who Helped Spark The Haitian,” Atlanta Black Star, published online 17 February 2018, accessed 1 August 2020, URL: https://atlantablackstar.com/2018/02/17/dutty-boukman-fearless-leader-helped-spark-haitian-revolution/
  • Kytle, Ethan J., and Blain Roberts, Denmark Vessey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in The Cradle of the Confederacy, New York: The New Press, 2019.
  • LaPointe, Ernie, Sitting Bull: His Life and Legacy, Layton, Utah: Gibson Smith, 2009.
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  • Nelson, Robin. “The What, When, Where and Why of ‘Practice as Research.’” Practice as Research in the Arts: Principles, Protocols, Pedagogies, Resistance. Ed., by Robin Nelson. New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
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  • Olumide, Yetunde Mercy, The Vanishing Black African Woman: A Compendium of the Global Skin-lightening Practice, Volume 1, Bamenda: Langaa Research and Publishing CIG, 2016.
  • Omi, Michael, and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States, 3rd edition, Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2014.
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  • Patrick, Anita, “Statue of British Colonialist Cecil Rhodes Decapitated in South Africa,” CNN, published online 15 July 2021, accessed 20 August 202, URL: https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/15/africa/cecil-rhodes-statue-decapitated-south-africa/index.html
  • Pronczuk, Monika, and Mihir Zaveri, “Statue of Leopold II, Belgian King Who Brutalized Congo, Is Removed in Antwerp,” The New York Times, published online 9 June 2020, accessed 20 August 2020, URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/09/world/europe/king-leopold-statue-antwerp.html
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  • Roach, Joseph, Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.
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  • Schechner, Richard, Performance Studies: An Introduction, Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2017.
  • —, The Future of Ritual: Writings on Culture and Performance, London and New York: Routledge, 1993.
  • —, Between Theatre and Anthropology, Pennsylvania: University of Performance Press, 1985.
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  • Turner, Victor, From Ritual to Theatre: The Seriousness of Play, New York: PAJ Publications, 1982.
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  • Zinn Education Project, “May 10, 1886: Lee Yick Wins Equal Protection Under The Law Case, Zinn Education Project, published in 2021, accessed on 1 August 2020, URL: https://www.zinnedproject.org/news/tdih/lee-yick-wins-equal-protection-case/
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……

[1] Miles Parks, “Confederate Statues Were Built to Further A White Supremacist Future,” NPR, published 20 August 2017, accessed 25 June 2020, URL: https://www.npr.org/2017/08/20/544266880/confederate-statues-were-built-to-further-a-white-supremacist-future

[2] I use common “c” with reference to the confederacy and confederate generals.

[3] I use common “w” and “s” with reference to “white supremacy.”

[4] I use capital “B” when referring to Black people and communities.

[5] Ryan Best, “Confederate Statues Were Never Really About Preserving History,” FiveThityEight, published online 8 July 2020, accessed 20 August 2020, URL: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/confederate-statues/

[6] Layla Saad, Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, 2020, pp. 12-13.

[7] Ryan Best, op. cit.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Idem.

[10] Idem.

[11] Idem.

[12] Archie Bland, “Edward Colston statue replaced by sculpture of Black Lives Matter Protestor Jen Reid,” The Guardian, published online 15 July 2020, accessed 20 August 2021, URL: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/15/edward-colston-statue-replaced-by-sculpture-of-black-lives-matter-protester

[13] Monika Pronczuk and Mahir Azveri, op. cit. “Statue of Leopold II, Belgian King Who Brutalized Congo, Is Removed in Antwerp,” The New York Times, published online 9 June 2020, accessed 20 August 2020, URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/09/world/europe/king-leopold-statue-antwerp.html

[14] Bill Ashcroft, et.al., eds., “Part One: Issues and Debates,” The Postcolonial Reader, 2nd edition, London and New York: Routledge, 2006, pp. 9, 17.

[15] Ariel Zilber, “Black Lives Matter Sign and LGBTQ Pride Flag Are Projected Onto Statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Virginia,” Daily Mail, published online 14 June 2020, accessed 20 June 2020, URL: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8419995/Black-Lives-Matter-sign-LGBTQ-pride-flag-projected-statue-Robert-E-Lee-Virginia.html

[16] Monika Pronczuk and Mihir Azveri, op. cit.

[17] Marvin Carlson, Performance: A Critical Introduction, New York: Routledge, 1996, p. 3.

[18] Erika Fischer-Lichte, The Routledge Introduction to Theatre and Performance Studies, edited by Minou Arjomond and Ramona Mosse, English translation by Minou Arjomond, London and New York: Routledge, 2014, p. 18.

[19] Richard Schechner, The Future of Ritual: Writings on Culture and Performance, London and New York: Routledge, 1993, p. 9.

[20] Barry Stephenson, Ritual: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 1-4.

[21] Archie Bland, op. cit.

[22] Quinn, Marc. “A Joint Statement from Marc Quinn and Jen Reid.” Marc Quinn, published online 15 July 2021, accessed 20 August 2021, URL: http://marcquinn.com/studio/news/a-joint-statement-from-marc-quinn-and-jen-reid

[23] Bruce Barton, “Introduction I: Wherefore PAR?: Discussions on ‘a line of flight’,” Performance as Research: Knowledge, Methods, Impact, edited by Annette Arlander et.al., London and New York: Routledge, 2018, pp. 4-6.

[24] Schechner, Richard, Performance Studies: An Introduction, Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2017, p. 24.

[25] Victor Turner, From Ritual to Theatre: The Seriousness of Play, New York: PAJ Publications, 1982, p. 17-19.

[26] Erving Goffman, The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life, New York: Anchor Books, 1959, p. 1-5.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Richard Schechner, Between Theatre and Anthropology, Pennsylvania: University of Performance Press, 1985,

  1. 36.

[29] Sarah E. Chinn, “Performative Identities: Identity Politics to Queer Theory.” The Sage Handbook of

Identities. Ed. Margaret Wetherell and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. London: Sage Publications Ltd., 2010, p. 104-124.

[30] Joseph Roach, Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance. New York: Columbia University

Press, 1996, p. 53.

[31] K. A. Geetha, Contesting Categories: Remapping Boundaries by Tamil Dalits, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014, p. 130.

[32] Peter Barry, Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Cultural and Literary Theory, 4th edition, Manchescter: Manchester University Press, 2017, p. 194.

[33] Helen Gilbert and Joanne Tompkins, Post-Colonial Drama: Theory, Practice, Politics, London: Routledge, 1996,

  1. 2-10.

[34] Helen Gilbert and Joanne Tompkins, “Post-Colonial Drama.” The Wadsworth Anthology of Drama. 5th Edition.

Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007, p. 1620-1629.

[35] Yetunde Mercy Olumide, The Vanishing Black African Woman: A Compendium of the Global Skin-lightening Practice, Volume 1, Bamenda: Langaa Research and Publishing CIG, 2016, p. 933.

[36] Albert J. Mills, et.al., Organizational Behavior in a Global Context, New York : Broadview Press, p. 569.

[37] Archie Bland, op. cit.

[38] Marvin Carlson, “Resistant Performance,” The Postcolonial Studies Reader, second edition, edited by Bill Ashcroft, et.al, London and New York: Routledge, 2006. pp. 309-312..

[39] Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States, 3rd edition, Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2014, pp. 3-7.

[40] Galen A. Foresman, et.al., The Critical Thinking Toolkit. Massachusetts, Oxford, and Westchester: Wiley Blackwell, 2017, p. 338.

[41] E. Patrick Johnson, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and The Politics of Authenticity. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2003, p. 2-7.

[42] Ibid., p. 7

[43] Ibid., p. 2

[44] Frantz Fanon. Black Skin, White Masks, English translation by Richard Philcox, New York: Grove Press, 1952, p. 93-94.

[45] Harvey Young, Embodying Black Experience: Stillness, Critical Memory, and the Black Body. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013, p. 7

[46] Ibid., p. 7.

[47] Ibid., p. 138.

[48] “Black Lives Matter,” official website, published online, 2013, accessed 15 February, 2021, URL: https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/

[49] Ibid.

[50] Idem.

[51] Evan Hill, et.al. “How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody,” The New York Times, published online 31 May 2020, accessed 20 January 2021, URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/us/george-floyd-investigation.html?module=inline.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Idem.

[54] Eric Levenson, “Former Officer Knelt on George Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds – not the infamous 8:46.” CNN, published online 29 March 2021, accessed 29 March 2021. URL: https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/29/us/george-floyd-timing-929-846/index.html

[55] Ibid.

[56] Idem..

[57] Bukola Adebayo and Samson Ntale, “From Uganda to Nigeria, activists are calling on their governments to remove colonialists’ names from streets,” CNN World, published online 3 July 2021, accessed 20 August 2021, URL: https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/03/africa/africa-campaign-rename-streets-intl/index.html

[58] Ibid.

[59] Idem.

[60] Idem.

[61] Anita Patrick, “Statue of British Colonialist Cecil Rhodes Decapitated in South Africa,” CNN, published online 15 July 2021, accessed 20 August 202, URL: https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/15/africa/cecil-rhodes-statue-decapitated-south-africa/index.html

[62] Ibid.

[63] Monika Pronczuk and Mihir Azveri, op. cit.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Archie Bland, op. cit.

[66] Ibid.

[67] Idem.

[68] Idem.

[69] Idem.

[70] Idem.

[71] Euronews, “Statue of Black Lives Matter Activist Jen Reid Taken Down,” Euronews, published online 16 July 2020, accessed 1 August 2020, URL: https://www.euronews.com/2020/07/15/toppled-monument-to-slave-trader-edward-colston-replaced-with-statue-of-blm-activist

[72] Ibid.

[73] Williamjames Hull Hoffer, Plessy v. Ferguson: Race and Inequality in Jim Crow America (Landmark Law Cases and American Society), Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press, pp. 1-6.

[74] Ryan Best, op. cit.

[75] Ibid.

[76] Harvey Young, op. cit., p. 7

[77] Soyica Diggs Colbert,. Black Movements: Performance and Cultural Politics. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2017, p. 4..

[78] Ibram X. Kendi, How to be an Antiracist, New York: One World, 2019, pp. 20-21.

[79] Ibid., 20-21.

[80] Maxilian C. Foote, Indigenous Resurgence in the Contemporary Caribbean: Amerindian Survival and Revival, New York, Lang Publishing, Inc., p. 31.

[81] Werner Zipps, Nanny’s Asafo Warriors: The Jamaican Maroons’ African Experience, Kingston, Ian Randle Publishers, 2011.

[82] Tanasia Kenney, “Dutty Boukman, The Fearless Leader Who Helped Spark The Haitian,” Atlanta Black Star, published online 17 February 2018, accessed 1 August 2020, URL: https://atlantablackstar.com/2018/02/17/dutty-boukman-fearless-leader-helped-spark-haitian-revolution/

[83] Ernie LaPointe, Sitting Bull: His Life and Legacy, Layton, Utah: Gibson Smith, 2009.

[84] Catherine Clinton, Harriett Tubman: The Road to Freedom, New York: Back Bay Books, 2005.

[85] Ethan J. Kytle and Blain Roberts, Denmark Vessey’s Garden: Slavery and Memory in The Cradle of the Confederacy, New York: The New Press, 2019.

[86] Kenneth S. Greenberg, ed., Nat Turner: A Slave Rebellion in History and Memory, New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

[87] “Nganga Nzumbi aka Ganga Zumbi,” Sankofa Archives, published online 2020, accessed 2 March 2021, URL: https://www.sankofaarchives.com/sag-slavery-historical-figure-nganga-nzumbi-aka-ganga-zumbi/

[88] Zinn Education Project, “May 10, 1886: Lee Yick Wins Equal Protection Under The Law Case, Zinn Education Project, published in 2021, accessed on 1 August 2020, URL: https://www.zinnedproject.org/materials/asian-americans-and-moments-in-peoples-history/#Yick_Wo

[89] Nell Irvin Painter, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol, New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1997.

[90] Paula J. Giddings, Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching, New York Amistad, Harper Collins Publishers, 2009.

[91] Phillipe Girard, Toussaint Louissant: A Revolutionary Life, New York: Basic Books, 2016

[92] Clara Caufield, “Buffalo Calf Road Woman – Cheyenne Warrior Girl,” Indianz.Com, published online 26 June 2020, accessed 1 August 2020, URL: https://www.indianz.com/News/2020/06/26/clara-caufield-buffalo-calf-road-woman-c.asp