Black America and Covid: An Oral History Project by Sonja J. Killebrew
HOW HAVE BLACK AMERICANS BEEN IMPACTED BY COVID-19? Are you a Black American who has lost someone during the Covid-19 pandemic? Are you a Black American who didn’t lose anyone and you want to share what it was like to work and live during the Covid-19 pandemic? Are you a non-Black American who lost someone close to you who was a Black American and you want to share their life story? Do you want to share your story about them? I’m a Black American; I’m an educator; I’m a writer. I want to tell your story.
Bloomberg CityLab Homemade Covid Maps
Using art and mapmaking as an act of expression, Bloomberg CityLab readers depict the enduring changes the pandemic has wrought on our physical and mental landscape. The website features illustrated maps and accompanying short narratives, as well as a call for ongoing participation.
Sonya Clark, Detroit Healing Memorial
Detroit was one of the hardest hit cities in America that lost thousands of lives during the pandemic. The Healing Memorial is an ongoing project to commemorate the city’s lost loved ones. In August 2021, the public art installation, developed by textile and social practice artist Sonya Clark, was unveiled at the TCF Center. The massive wall features 2,000 handmade pouches crafted by Detroit residents with fabric, beads, and string.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: A Crack in the Hourglass, An Ongoing COVID-19 Memorial
A Crack in the Hourglass is a participatory, transitory “anti-monument” by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer for the time of the pandemic and the ways it has halted public rituals of mourning. The public is invited to submit photographs of loved ones lost to COVID-19 at www.acrackinthehourglass.net, accompanied by a personalized dedication, and to watch at the Brooklyn Museum or via livestream as a modified robotic plotter deposits grains of hourglass sand onto a black stage to recreate the image. After each portrait is completed, it is slowly erased by gravity. The entire process is archived on the website, and the same sand is then recycled into the next portrait, forming a limitless number of memorials and emphasizing the collective and ongoing nature of the pandemic.
Marked by Covid
Marked by Covid is a non-profit organization which organizes all-volunteer events and connects COVID activist hubs across the country. The group’s activities include funding “honest obituaries,” organizing actions, amplifying personal stories, advocating for a COVID Memorial Day, and coordinating a sympathy card exchange.
Memorial Crane Project
The Memorial Crane Project is a collaborative art installation that commemorates the individuals in the United States who have lost their lives to Covid-19. It is led by Karla Funderburk and co-created with volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, who hand-fold origami cranes, which are strung and hung together from copper wire armatures. Each crane represents a life lost. The project’s website includes images, stories, and a list of names.
Archives in Common
Archives in Common is a collaborative effort by community organizers, members of the immigrant community, and members of the CUNY community to support, expand, and archive mutual aid efforts throughout the pandemic (primarily in the South Bronx). The project includes workshop listings, a syllabus containing poetry, art, and prose, and mutual aid information.
NYC Covid-19 Oral History, Narrative and Memory Archive
The COVID-19 pandemic is the gravest infectious disease crisis the United
States has faced since the Influenza pandemic of 1918, and we fear that it will not be the last. Our team of sociologists, oral historians, and anthropologists at Columbia University’s INCITE and the Oral History Archives at Columbia is building an archive documenting New York City’s experience of the pandemic.
Remembering the New Yorkers We’ve Lost to COVID-19
“Remembering the New Yorkers We’ve Lost to COVID-19,” is a memorialization project led by researchers at Columbia University and the City University of New York. At the end of a brief article outlining the project’s aims and methodology, users can view photographs and descriptions of people who passed away due to COVID related causes. Users are also invited to submit information to be included in the project via text, e-mail, or phone.