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Monthly Archives: July 2017

Clarence Scott-1

Clarence Scott’s passion for football began in elementary school, before he had even attended a game. On Saturday mornings he would listen to the older guys in his neighborhood talk, with great admiration, about the high school football players who had played the night before. This sparked a fire in him. “I developed within me something that I could reach for, and it turned out to be a real good life.”

In 1965, Clarence and his teammates at Trinity High, Decatur’s all-black high school, made football history. They played an undefeated season and won their first-ever state championship for the school. “It was a tremendous accomplishment. Our school gave us jackets that had our names and State Championship emblem on it. In fact, my father wore my jacket until he wore it out.”

Clarence would go on to have an illustrious career in football, playing four years at Kansas State University and 13 years in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. Despite his fame, Clarence has never forgotten where the seeds for his success were planted. “Everything comes back to the community. I was born and raised in Decatur. I am most proud of the community that brought me up and taught me how to live life in a meaningful way.”

In 1968, as a result of integration, Trinity merged with Decatur High School. In 2013, Carter Wilson, the Decatur High School Athletic Director, and the Booster Club, presented Clarence and his Trinity teammates with the championship rings they had earned 48 years before. Clarence recalls, “It was exciting. It was something that we previously had not been able to do. It happened, and I know it was in God’s timing. We’re just thankful and grateful that it did occur.”

Noah Grigni

“In “Twin Planets,” I used symbolic colors and shapes, gendered poses, and written narratives to communicate the feeling of gender dysphoria. I chose to work in the format of a diptych because I wanted to illustrate the duality of trans-masculine and trans-feminine experiences, without equivocating the two experiences or emphasizing either above the other.”

Noah Grigni has a clear vision of what he wants to accomplish with his life. He is focused, tenacious, and passionate. He is also an individual who speaks eloquently from the heart and with the wisdom of someone who has lived far beyond his 20 years. Noah is an illustrator, designer, and writer. Noah grew up in Decatur, but is now living in Boston where he is studying visual narratives, a major which combines illustration and creative writing, at Lesley University.

“I’ve been drawing and writing for as long as I can remember. As I was growing up, art was a way for me to channel the gender dysphoria I felt into something tangible that I could control. I am a trans man, and I transitioned from female to male when I was at Decatur High School. As I hit puberty and became increasingly uncomfortable with my female body, I retreated from my social life and became extremely invested in my art. As I transitioned and my life stabilized, I began viewing art as a discipline rather than a crutch. That is when I decided to become a professional artist.”

“My goal as an artist is to amplify the voices of underrepresented communities and to become a role model for trans kids. My hope is that my art will reach an audience of trans kids and show them that there is beauty in being trans. You can transition and still live a happy life full of creativity and love. Coming out was hard, but it freed me in so many ways. As someone who’s had the privilege to transition at a young age, I feel it’s my responsibility to give back to the trans community, because my gender identity is what got me into art in the first place. I am currently illustrating Gender Identity Workbook for Kids by Kelly Storck, a book for trans kids who come out before the age of 12. It has been inspiring to work with people who share my values, and I am so grateful for this opportunity to create art which is relevant to my community.”

http://instagram.com/ngrigni

 

 

 

Veronica, Cassie, and WIllie Mae

Veronica Edwards moved to Decatur in 1966 when she was five-years-old. She has seen her community in Oakhurst undergo several transformations. As a young girl she witnessed white flight when a large percentage of white neighbors left the city for the suburbs. “During this transition period, we knew as a community that we had to stick together and make sure that everyone in the neighborhood was taken care of. Whatever the need was, we made sure they had it. The village raised the kids and I learned to be an advocate and caretaker at a young age.”

“In 2014, I moved back into my childhood home to care for my mother who is now 92 and my grandmother who is 109-years-old. They really needed someone to assist them since my sister, who had been caring for them, was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. I saw the need and had the desire. In my heart, I felt I was the chosen one. The joy comes from being around them, getting their wisdom, and hearing the stories they share with me.” The challenges come from working a full-time job and being the primary caregiver for two aged individuals in a house that is not handicap accessible. In addition, Veronica has had to manage grief of her own.

“I lost my son and only child to a homicide in 2014. The person who pulled the trigger took my son and his best friend. That was the most difficult time in my life. People told me I never had a chance to grieve. I couldn’t sit down and grieve because the needs of my mother and grandmother did not stop. It has to be the grace of God that gives me the strength and endurance to continue to care for them. They did that for me. I’m just giving back.”

O'Keeffe Landscape Tour

O’Keeffe Landscape tour at Ghost Ranch

During my recent trip to New Mexico to visit my dad, we had the opportunity to stay in our friend’s beautiful casita in Abiquiu. The landscape in Abiquiu and the surrounding region is where Georgia O’Keeffe drew inspiration for much of her art. She visited Ghost Ranch, a dude ranch just north of Abiquiu, for the first time in 1934, and was inspired by the stunning landscape. She returned every summer to paint until she permanently moved to Abiquiu in 1949. She resided in New Mexico until her death in 1986. Growing up in New Mexico, I was greatly influenced by O’Keeffe’s paintings. Her interpretation of the landscape shaped my appreciation for the land which I still consider magical. Her sense of color, composition and perspective inform the way I see and photograph today.

Remains returned

On June 29th, I flew out to New Mexico to visit my dad. When I boarded the plane in Atlanta I cursed under my breath for being assigned a window seat at the very back of the plane. Little did I realize that from my seat I would have the honor of witnessing the return of Rudy Redd Victor’s remains to his family in New Mexico. Rudy had been missing for 43 years. In June of 1974, twenty-year-old Rudy was last seen in Montana while on leave from the Air Force. He and his girlfriend were headed to Colorado to visit family when he fled the car after an arguement. Since Victor never returned to duty, the Air Force initially listed Rudy as “absent without leave” and then as a deserter. In 1982, a rancher in Montana found a skull on a steep hillside and kept it for two years as a souvenir before turning it in to the local county coroner. Investigations at the hillside found remains which included a lower jaw. Tests at the time were inconclusive and the remains were shelved. As a result of new technological advances, Rudy’s dental records were recently matched to the skull found in Montana in 1974. After 43 years the family finally has closure and Rudy Redd Victor’s military record has been updated to remove his deserter status.