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  • Along the ancient path of the Monongahela River,

  • Braddock, Pennsylvania sits in the eastern region of Allegheny County,

  • approximately nine miles outside of Pittsburgh.

  • An industrial suburb,

  • Braddock is home to Andrew Carnegie's first steel mill,

  • the Edgar Thomson Works.

  • Operating since 1875,

  • it is the last functioning steel mill in the region.

  • For 12 years, I have produced collaborative portraits,

  • still lifes, landscapes and aerial views

  • in order to build a visual archive to address the intersection

  • of the steel industry,

  • the environment,

  • and the health care system's impact on the bodies of my family and community.

  • The tradition and grand narrative of Braddock

  • is mostly comprised of stories of industrialists and trade unions.

  • Currently, the new narrative about Braddock,

  • a poster child for Rust Belt revitalization,

  • is a story of urban pioneers discovering a new frontier.

  • Mass media has omitted the fact that Braddock is predominantly black.

  • Our existence has been co-opted, silenced and erased.

  • Fourth generation in a lineage of women,

  • I was raised under the protection and care of Grandma Ruby,

  • off 8th Street at 805 Washington Avenue.

  • She worked as a manager for Goodwill.

  • Mom was a nurse's aid.

  • She watched the steel mills close and white flight to suburban developments.

  • By the time my generation walked the streets,

  • disinvestment at the local, state and federal level,

  • eroded infrastructure,

  • and the War on Drugs dismantled my family and community.

  • Grandma Ruby's stepfather Gramps

  • was one of few black men to retire from Carnegie's mill with his pension.

  • He worked in high temperatures,

  • tearing down and rebuilding furnaces, cleaning up spilt metal and slag.

  • The history of a place is written on the body and the landscape.

  • Areas of heavy truck traffic,

  • exposure to benzene and atomized metals,

  • risk cancer and lupus.

  • One hundred twenty-three licensed beds, 652 employees,

  • rehabilitation programs decimated.

  • A housing discrimination lawsuit against Allegheny County

  • removed where the projects Talbot Towers once stood.

  • Recent rezoning for more light industry has since appeared.

  • Google Maps and Google Earth pixelations conceal the flammable waste

  • being used to squeeze the Bunn family off their home and land.

  • In 2013, I chartered a helicopter

  • with my cameras to document this aggressive dispossession.

  • In flight, my observation reveals thousands of plastic white bundles

  • owned by a conservation industry

  • that claims it's eco-friendly

  • and recycles millions of tires

  • to preserve people's lives

  • and to improve people's lives.

  • My work spirals from the micro to the macro level,

  • excavating hidden histories.

  • Recently, at the Seattle Art Museum,

  • Isaac Bunn and I mounted this exhibition,

  • and the exhibition was used as a platform to launch his voice.

  • Through reclamation of our narrative,

  • we will continue to fight historic erasure and socioeconomic inequality.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

Along the ancient path of the Monongahela River,

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B2 US TED braddock steel ruby mill narrative

【TED】LaToya Ruby Frazier: A visual history of inequality in industrial America (LaToya Ruby Frazier: A visual history of inequality in industrial America)

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    CUChou posted on 2015/07/27
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