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Making as Healing

After the Civil War, Black Southerners were no longer enslaved, but they were not yet free. The Sheriff sold free Black people to corporations and coal mines. For 80 years, thousands of Black people were forced to labor against their will across the country. Atlanta, in the state of Georgia, had a long dark history from 1868-1942. The Chattahoochee Brick Company used convict labor to produce bricks for the city, including Techwood Homes, Greenwood Cemetery, and Georgia State University. Its bricks were distributed to build the sidewalks, streets, and homes in Atlanta and across the United States. For decades, prisoners were forced to do unpaid labor at this brickyard. Through many years of struggling with property, the site finally belongs to the city of Atlanta. It is now time to recollect the lost memories and piece the stories together. Using remembrance as resistance, we plan to use memorializing activities to excavate and discover the underground and on-ground memories. People will engage with the earth, remediate the land, and recreate new memories together. Through ‘Making as Healing,’ we remediate the spiritual and physical harm done to humans and the earth through material practices. Our strategies of healing are inspired by the characteristics of the site. We are using raw materials and nature to heal social and ecological traumas: contamination, degradation, flooding, and the legacy of slavery. People have the opportunity to make and create with their hands, to engage in the practice of healing over time. With multiple fabricated realities, this after-property world will be seen as transcribing history and memory based on the cultural understanding of materials, plants, and spaces.