When the World Becomes Flesh: The International Day of Remembrance as Spatially Redressing Hampton, Virginia's Buckroe Beach
Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Since the birth of the United States, the Black body has functioned as a depository of Black pain (via subjection to slavery, police brutality, etc.). However, rather than passively submit to the infliction of pain, Black persons have historically engaged in several practices to undergird the acceptance of violence, such as escaping plantations, marching to achieve civil rights, and even practicing, in the language of scholar and author Saidiya Hartman, “redress.” The term “redress” refers to any embodied act that enslaved Blacks utilized to remember the humanness of their bodies, even while objectified and dehumanized via enslavement. Beyond embodied Black pain, Black trauma is also spatialized through the haunting of the natural realm by memories of historical racialized terror. To conceptualize the “healing” of landscapes and waterscapes “pained” by memories of Black atrocity, I argue that Hartman’s redress can extend beyond instances of embodied Black suffering to instances of extracorporeal Black suffering. Using oral histories to unfold an instrumental, single case study of the International Day of Remembrance—an annual event at Hampton, Virginia’s Buckroe Beach that celebrates the lives of the Black individuals who died via the Middle Passage—I suggest that the three main pillars of Hartman’s redress can emerge in moments of “healing” Black pain in a spatial context. I characterize that iteration of Hartman’s redress as “spatial redress.”
Freeman, Amirio, "When the World Becomes Flesh: The International Day of Remembrance as Spatially Redressing Hampton, Virginia's Buckroe Beach" (2017). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1123.
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