“Made In This City”: Examining the Craftscape of Black New Orleans

Wednesday, March 9, 2022 - 6:00pm
In 1834, cabinetmaker and free man of color Dutreuil Barjon advertised that he had articles of furniture for sale that were “made in this city.” That city was New Orleans, Lousiana and the furniture crafted in Barjon’s shop included armoires, beds, and chests of drawers. Barjon was one of many craftspeople of color living and laboring in New Orleans producing objects adored by museum visitors and collectors to this day. Black craftspeople are the focal point of the Black Craftspeople Digital Archive (BCDA), a digital humanities website dedicated to documenting the lives, experiences, and contributions of Black craftspeople in this country. The BCDA addresses previous historical absences and shares new stories that ultimately encourage users to reexamine objects and primary sources to tell a more comprehensive narrative of Black craftspeople on the southern landscape. This lecture explores the craftscape of New Orleans in connection with the BCDA’s goal of interpreting the experiences of Black craftspeople through their connections to place. About the Speaker: Dr. Tiffany Momon is a public historian and Assistant Professor of History at Sewanee: The University of the South. She earned her Ph.D. in Public History from Middle Tennessee State University, working with the Center for Historic Preservation. As a professor in Sewanee’s history department, Momon teaches courses in public history, digital history, and historic preservation. Additionally, her role at Sewanee brings the responsibilities of serving as faculty affiliate for the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation, an initiative investigating the university’s historical entanglements with slavery and slavery’s legacies. Momon is the founder and co-director of the Black Craftspeople Digital Archive (blackcraftspeople.org), a Black digital humanities project that centers Black craftspeople, their lives, and their contributions to the making and building of America. Throughout her career, Momon has lectured on Black craftspeople at organizations such as the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, and Winterthur Museum and Gardens. Her most recent publications include “John “Quash” Williams, Charleston Builder,” featured in the Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts, and National Register of Historic Places nominations for Talladega College and Stillman College, two historically Black colleges in Alabama. This event is made possible by funding from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Funding for 2021 Rebirth grants has been administered by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH) and provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and the NEH Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) initiative. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities

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