Arts & Culture / Convergence / The Reading Room / Vol. 2 No. 1-2

from Defining Moments Montage

Gopal Dagnogo, End of an era n 4

Image Credit: Gopal Dagnogo, End of an era n 4, 2016, 150 x 150cm, Courtesy of the artist

Betty Jean Owens, an African American woman who was raped by four white men—Patrick Gene Scarborough, David Erwin Beagles, Ollie Odell Stoutamire, and William Ted Collinsworth– in Tallahassee, Fl; May, 1959. The trial was a landmark case, covered at the time by the BBC and international news outlets. This was the first case on record in which a jury of 12 white men found white male assailants guilty of raping a black woman:

State of Florida v. Patrick Gene Scarborough, David Erwin Beagles, Ollie Odell Stoutamire, William Ted Collinsworth, 1959, case #3445.

car |kär| noun 1. a road vehicle, typically with four wheels, powered by an internal combustion engine and able to carry a small number of people: As in, when Betty Jean Owens and others—Richard Brown, Thomas Butterfield, and Edna Richardson, all Florida A&M students– decided, on May 2, 1959, to drive by car. 2. [as modifier]: As in, a car crash, a car load, a car accident, a car jacking not for the purposes of stealing a car but for raping the women in the car cabin. 3. a railroad vehicle for passengers or freight: It would have been safer to travel, in the first-class cars, on a train, in the colored section, but they wanted to drive. 4. the passenger compartment of an elevator, cableway, airship, or balloon: The road felt as small as a cable car, no room to run; as if she had no room in the car of an airship to breathe; as in no escape in the car of a balloon to float away, even in one’s mind as you try to separate from the moment.

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dredge |drej| verb [with object] 1. clean out the bed of (a harbor, river, or other area of water) by scooping out mud, weeds, and rubbish with a dredge: The body can be used to dredge an abandoned lot or it can be that which is found with the dredging; the tongue, say, too, can be used to dredge up history of an unspeakable act. She had to make a choice. 2. bring up or clear (something) from a river, harbor, or other area of water with a dredge: Between the choice of having a body to dredge out of weeds, to dredge out of the river like that Emmett Till boy, to dredge from an unmarked grave like many other women, or survive, she complied.| [with no object] : they start to dredge for evidence before the trial.• (dredge something up) bring to people’s attention an unpleasant or embarrassing fact or incident that had been forgotten: I don’t understand–people said, the town said, the men said–why you had to dredge up this story with all the details. 3. (noun) (dredger) an apparatus for bringing up objects or mud from a river or seabed by scooping or dragging.• Betty Jean was a dredger of truth.

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dual | ˈd(y)o͞oəl | adjective 1 [attributive] consisting of two parts, elements, or aspects: …their dual trauma–Betty Jean and her boyfriend, Richard’s; and Edna, who ran, and her boyfriend, Thomas’s. The duality of the trauma’s wake as women, throughout and hereafter in their lives; and for Thomas and Richard, in their manhood, continues.Grammar (in some languages) denoting an inflection that refers to exactly two people or things (as distinct from her and them): the court has dual sentencing guidelines for any black man and others for all white men. • (in an aircraft for flight) using dual controls: a dual escape, one in mind, one in body. 2 (often dual to) Mathematics (of a theorem, expression, etc.) related to another by the interchange of particular pairs of terms, such as a “point” at which Betty Jean, Edna, and their dates came into Jake Gaither Park and, stopped at that point, crossed a “line” on which this car of white men, two shot guns and switchblades among them, intersected.

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