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384 pages, Hardcover
First published September 11, 2012
I burst into tears the second I stepped foot on that land and what it represented, me standing there in a fancy dress and high heels near a plaque with the names and costs of all the slaves that had been owned there. The bride and groom were an interracial couple. My husband and I are an interracial couple. I waited all night for someone to speak about where we were. How we had gathered on land that represented so much racial violence and pain, how we might remake the land with the power of love. But as the night went on, I realized that the couple had chosen the location simply for its beauty. And it was stunning. But that’s part of its cunning, part of the ways in which it obfuscates history.French historian Pierre Nora is concerned with precisely this kind of forgetting. Sites of memory--actual places as well as figurative ones--may not commemorate history accurately. Sometimes they are meant to obscure, sometimes they are the result of a selective memory. Always they are imbued with layers of significance.
Three men wearing masks carried the bronze foot, taken all those years ago, to the entrance of Tiguex Park near the statue, and briefly held the foot aloft. One of the men was Brian Hardgroove, a bass player for the hip-hop group Public Enemy. Mr. Hardgroove, who lives in New Mexico and has worked as an artist in residence at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, said he came to express support for solidarity between Native Americans and African-Americans.Armed right-wing vigilantes fired on the protesters, critically injuring one man. It took this act of violence to bring the statue down although, as the governor of Acoma Pueblo noted in regard to the vulnerability of tribal nations in the face of Covid-19 and the heightened risk they face of dying, "Indigenous peoples are still struggling with extreme inequality."
“Carrying this foot is a powerful act of resistance,” Mr. Hardgroove said.