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Art on the Plaza: I AM A MAN

Art on the plaza:Carl Juste I Am A Man Memphis Tennessee, 2008  digital photograph courtesy of Carl Juste / Miami Herald Staff

Carl Juste / I Am A Man, 2008 / digital photograph / courtesy of Carl Juste / Miami Herald Staff

 

While the Museum remains temporarily closed due to COVID-19, we are pleased to expand our programming with “Art on the Plaza.” Beginning June 18th, MOCA will present the photograph “I Am A Man” by Miami-based artist, Carl Juste on MOCA Plaza.

Carl Juste has been a photojournalist for the Miami Herald since 1991. In 2008, while working on a newspaper story with the writer Leonard Pitts, Juste created this photograph of Memphis sanitation worker Elmore Nickelberry and his son Terence, who is holding a placard that reads “I Am A Man”. These signs became emblematic of Black Americans’ struggles after they were carried during the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike in 1968. Commenting on his portrait of the elder Nickelberry, Juste has said, “I just wanted to capture that dignity that was often deprived him.”

Nickelberry was one of more than 1,300 African American men employed by the Memphis Department of Public Works who went on strike in response to the deaths of two fellow sanitation workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, who had been killed by equipment that was known to be faulty. The strikers, who had been notoriously badly treated and underpaid, demanded more wages, improved safety measures and overtime compensation. After a sit-in protest, the City Council voted in favor of a pay increase but the Mayor refused to recognize the strike and rejected the vote. The controversy prompted the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to visit Memphis, where he gave his last speech, popularly known as “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” He was assassinated the following day.

Juste was born in Haiti to a Cuban mother and Haitian father. His family was forced to leave their homeland in 1965 for political reasons, and eventually settled in Miami’s Haitian community. In addition to photographing for the Miami Herald, Juste cofounded Iris PhotoCollective (IPC). IPC’s members are photojournalists of color who document people of color’s relationship to the world. In 2019 Juste opened the IPC Art Space in Little Haiti. He is currently producing a book and exhibit titled Havana, Haiti: Two Cultures, One Community consisting of photographs and text that explore the bonds between Cuba and Haiti.

Moca check in: carl juste
Photo by Carl Juste

 

I AM A MAN from Iris PhotoCollective on Vimeo.


Convesations at MOCA

Wednesday, July 8, 7pm
Conversation with Carl Juste and Leonard Pitts, Jr.
Moderated by Donnamarie Baptiste
Zoom

Join award winning, Miami Herald photographer Carl Juste and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Leonard Pitts, Jr. for a conversation about the newly installed public artwork by Carl Juste on MOCA Plaza “I am a Man.” In 2008, while working on a newspaper story with Pitts, Juste created this photograph of Memphis sanitation worker Elmore Nickelberry and his son Terence, who is holding a placard that reads “I Am A Man”. These signs became emblematic of Black Americans’ struggles after they were carried during the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike in 1968. Commenting on his portrait of the elder Nickelberry, Juste has said, “I just wanted to capture that dignity that was often deprived him.”

 

Carl Juste headshot
Carl Juste

Carl Juste has been a photojournalist for the Miami Herald since 1991. Juste was born into a politically active family in Haiti. After being forced to leave their homeland in 1965 for political reasons, they eventually settled in Miami’s Haitian community. In addition to photographing for the Miami Herald, Juste cofounded Iris PhotoCollective (IPC). IPC’s members are photojournalists of color who document people of color’s relationship to the world. In 2019 Juste opened the IPC Art Space in Little Haiti. He is currently producing a book and exhibit titled Havana, Haiti: Two Cultures, One Community consisting of photographs and text that explore the bonds between Cuba and Haiti.

 

 

 

 

Leonard pitts
Leonard Pitts

Leonard Pitts was born and raised in Southern California. He was awarded a degree in English from the University of Southern California at the age of 19, having entered school at 15 on a special honors program. Since 1995, he and his wife have lived in Bowie, Maryland, a suburb of Washington D.C. Pitts’ work has made him an in-demand lecturer. He maintains a rigorous speaking schedule that has taken him to colleges, civic groups and professional associations all over the country. He has also taught at a number of institutions of higher learning, including Hampton University, Ohio University, the University of Maryland, and Virginia Commonwealth University. In the fall of 2011, he was a visiting professor at Princeton, teaching a course in writing about race.

 

 

 

 

 

Donnamarie Baptiste
Donnamarie Baptiste

Donnamarie Baptiste is a Producer, Programmer and Curator of Art & Culture who has worked with art fairs, galleries, artists, arts organizations and brands to produce exhibitions, site-responsive events, and experiences that connect audiences nationally and internationally.

She has held roles with Photo Miami International Art Fair, Art Basel, Creative Time & The Armory Show. Baptiste is experienced in working with artists of multiple genres including high-profile projects and performances by Theaster Gates, Xu Zhen, Robert Longo, The Roots, Wangechi Mutu, Jason & Alicia Moran, Ebony Bones, and others. She has worked with brands that include Lexus, Armani, Veuve Clicquot, BMW, LVMH, Cartier, Mercedes Benz and American Express.

Born in Trinidad & Tobago to musician parents, she has spent most of her life between Florida, New York City and the USVI. After studying Humanities in the Caribbean, she moved to Miami, and subsequently to New York City. Currently she is based in Miami providing arts & culture management consulting to creative national and international clients while supporting the local art community as a board member of Oolite Arts.

 

 

 


This project is made possible with the generous support of the Miami Herald Media Company. MOCA North Miami’s exhibitions and programs are made possible with the generous support of the North Miami Mayor and Council and the City of North Miami, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.