Honors College and Pryor Center Present Elaine Now

Trent Bozeman

Trent Bozeman documented Elaine’s Main Street in 2021.

In 1919 Elaine, Arkansas, was the site of the deadliest racial confrontation in Arkansas history. Today, this very small town in the Arkansas Delta — population 659 in 2019 — remembers its troubled past with the Elaine Legacy Center and has been documented by Trent Bozeman, a photographer and Master of Fine Arts graduate student in the School of Art at the U of A.

The Honors College and the David and Barbara Pryor Center of Arkansas Oral and Visual History will present an exhibition of Bozeman’s photographs, Elaine Now, from 5:30-7:30 pm on Tuesday, April 12, at the Pryor Center. Elaine community leader James White, cofounder of the Elaine Legacy Center, will detail that organization’s efforts to research, preserve and share oral narratives of the Elaine Massacre. Bozeman will discuss his ongoing work to capture the contemporary world of Elaine, which began when he made weekend trips to the city, sharing his digital camera with children playing and hanging out.

“This project is a collective effort by me and the Black residents of Elaine,” Bozeman said. “We’ve been working together for the last year and a half — the kids took pictures too, and that’s how I gained access to the community there. I met the parents, and there was a domino effect. Eventually, I was able to bring lights, shoot with film, and it’s transformed into a photo camp.”

photo of two women back to back
“Waiting for an Echo,” by Trent Bozeman

“The David and Barbara Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History is excited and honored to co-sponsor Elaine Now,” said University Professor William Schwab, who serves as executive director of the Pryor Center. “The center sponsored a day-long symposium on the 100th anniversary of the Elaine Massacre in 2019, and this exhibit and lecture brings full circle the Elaine story on how a horrific event a century ago shaped this community then and now.”

This event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Please indicate your interest in attending in person or receiving the Zoom link for this event by filling out this interest form. The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History, part of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, is located at 1 E. Center St., Suite 120, and parking is available on the Fayetteville Square.

“These photos belong to the town of Elaine,” Bozeman emphasized. Citizens of Elaine are currently working on a new Civil Rights Museum, where Bozeman hopes to display photos taken by him and the children of Elaine. Following the reception on April 12, his work will be on display in the Honors College wing of Gearhart Hall through April 22.

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