|some angry black men might would've put a gun in their hands
COULD'VE BEEN ME
a provocative ongoing docu-project by ELVERT BARNES
|Amadou Diallo Police Brutality Protest / DC . 2/15/1999
|March Against Police Brutality / DC . 3 April 1999
|When launched just before Easter in April 2000 as an AOL homepage the COULD'VE BEEN ME docu-project was in response to my
hearng news of several nationwide anti-police brutality protests that had ocurred as a result of the acquittal of four NYC policemen in the
fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo. Unfortunately, when AOL shut down their homepage operation a few years later the COULD'VE BEEN ME
was one of my many such docu-projects that was lost in the process. Though I have maintained rough drafts and copies of most of those
project in file boxes in a bedroom closet I simply have not had the time to get them back online. However, since the projects are ongoing I,
over the years, have continued to write essays and journals as well as take photos pertaining to the many projects.
When in April 2000 that the project came to mind, it had been three years since my first documentation of a police brutality protest which
took place eleven days after the 4 February 1999 killing of Amadou Diallo when in Washington DC on Saturday, 15 February 1999 that
demonstrators marched from the White House to the Department of Justice. While that demonstration was in response to the Amadou
Diallo case a few weeks later a much larger demonstration would take place in the nation's capital on Easter Saturday, 3 April 1999 when
thousands of demonstrators marched from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library at 9th and L Street, NW, the US Capitol West Lawn
for Emergency March Against Police Brutality Rally.
It had become my practice to create 18 1/2 x 14 or 11 x 17 poster size photo essays that integrated my protest photography with my writings.
one of the images that kept flashing before me was a photo that I took of the father of Archie Elliott III marching down Pennsylvania Avenue
during the Easter Saturday, 3 April 1999 EMERGENCY MARCH AGASINT POLICE POLICE in Washington DC.
At the time it had been my practice to create holiday greeting cards from images that I had taken over that holiday of the previous year so,
reflecting on the fact that many black families are faced with commemorating murdered family members over Easter weekend, that image
was featured on one of my Easter 2000 greeting cards.
I had also had just launched the EASTER DOES NOT MEAN TO ME ... ongoing docu-project which, through use of my own photography,
reflects on my life and personal experiences over the years.
The project began with my memories of Easter 1974 when as a sophomore at the University of Maryland / College Park that a white friend
(college mate) named Dwight invited me to ride down with him to visit his family over Easter Weekend at Langley Air Force Base in VA.
If my memory serves me correctly, I first met Dwight at one of the Friday night gay meetings at the University of Maryland which I rarely
attended since I had been going to the gay clubs in SE DC since my senior year at Great Mills High School. From the start Dwight had told
me that while his father may would object to him for being gay if he knew that he dated black men he would probably disown him and
caught off his financial support for college. So, when Dwight asked that I go with him to visit with his family over Easter Weekend I was
reluctant. And, only after much pressure did I say yes. Once we got the car and was heading south on I-95 Dwight told me that it was quite
possible that once we got there his father would ask us to leave. He said that his mother would be understanding.
From the moment that we arrived, though his father tried to be polite, we both new that his father strongly objected. His mother was more
accepting. Shortly after our arrival, we ate dinner. Later, in the evening, when we were alone in his bedroom, Dwight told me that his
mother had told him that we could stay the night but, shortly after breakfast the morning we should leave as soon as possible.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION (last update Tuesday, 18 July 2018)