In 2020, the City of Glendale took a historic step of reckoning, becoming the first city in California and the third in the nation to pass a sundown town resolution. Sundown towns kept African Americans and other people of color from living in certain communities through formal and informal methods in a purposeful effort to maintain a white population. The resolution acknowledges and apologizes for Glendale’s racist past and pledges to work towards an anti-racist future.
Brand Library & Art Center and ReflectSpace Gallery present “Reckoning: Racism and Resistance in Glendale,” a multi-dimensional and multi-faceted virtual exhibition, public art installation, and community engagement project that examines and responds to the city’s racist history of anti-Blackness, the resistance to that racism, and our current moment of reckoning.
“Reckoning” unfolds in multiple layers throughout February and March:
First, the virtual exhibition explores Glendale’s racist history of anti-Blackness through archived materials from the Glendale Central Library Archives and interviews with scholars, activists, and community members. The exhibition will unfold over six weeks through weekly “episodes” – “All American City” and “KKK in Glendale” are currently available, and coming episodes will address the American Nazi Party’s local history, sundown town practices, modern-day white supremacy, and the current moment of reckoning and fight against racism.
Next, a city-wide public art installation created by local artist and educator April Bey will bring the issues of racism to a larger audience. Bey’s interdisciplinary artwork is an introspective and social critique of American and Bahamian culture, contemporary pop culture, feminism, generational theory, social media, AfroFuturism, AfroSurrealism, post-colonialism, and constructs of race within supremacist systems.
Lastly, a collaboration with Glendale Unified School District will engage high school students in the exhibition as viewers and contributors.
“Reckoning” is a part of Glendale Library, Arts & Culture’s Be The Change series, focused on inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism. The exhibit is presented by ReflectSpace Gallery, which explores and reflects on genocides, human and civil rights violations. “Reckoning” is curated by Ara Oshagan, Anahid Oshagan, and Shannon Currie-Holmes, and is supported by Glendale Arts & Culture Commission, the Glendale Library Trust, and the Brand Associates.