A photographic mural of a Reconstruction-era Virginia log cabin dominates the hallway leading to African and African American Studies faculty offices in the School of Social Transformation, within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in Wilson Hall. From afar it reads as one seamless piece of art, beckoning visitors to step into another place and time. But a closer look reveals more than 200 small prints, meticulously pieced together to create the 15-by-7 foot scene.
The composition’s format parallels the historical detective work that ASU’s Angelita Reyes, professor of African and African-American studies and English, has done to give context to the cabin, which stands in the woods of a rural community in Mecklenburg County, Va., and to fit together a biographical voice for her ancestors and other African-American families who built lives on former plantation lands after Emancipation.
Reyes says the project began as a family effort to qualify the Civil War-era cabin for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register; both were achieved in 2007.