Reckoning with our Past: The 1970 Augusta Riot
By Pax Bobrow
For the next two months a visit to the City Gallery is a must-do on everyone’s list of outings. Located on the first floor of the Municipal Building at 535 Telfair Street, the new exhibit is open between May 1 and June 30, 2021 and explores an exhibit of historical documents, oral history quotes, and artwork by local artists created in response to the memory of the May 1970 Augusta Riot. Artworks in this exhibit are by Devin Lovett, Warren Richard, Wesley Stewart and Matthew Thomas.
Meet the artists, and help commemorate the 1970 Augusta Riot at the rededication of the State Marker in front of the main doors to the Municipal Building at 11:00 am on Tuesday, May 11, 2021.
Why remember? Why not forget? In this era of phone and police bodycam documentation of state sanctioned violence against black and brown citizens, the evidence is causing reflection and doubt for those who have been able to pretend that violence against our black and brown citizens doesn’t happen, or only happens in response to black and brown people “going crazy” for “no reason”. The story of the May 1970 Augusta Riot is not yet part of our local, state or national school curricula, and the dominant white narrative has been that it was a random moment of communal black insanity that came out of nowhere, and was miraculously calmed by a speech by James Brown and the presence of the National Guard. The truth is far more interesting, heartbreaking, shameful, and important. We invite everyone to learn more.
This exhibit is the work of the May 1970 Augusta Riot Committee, and made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and contributions from local citizens in Augusta, Georgia.