Everyday Heroes: A Recap

03.14.2013 | Fine Arts

By Lauren Glass, '13

Wednesday’s Campus Cultural Connections event, "Everyday Heroes: An Exploration of Human Dignity and Identity," fused photography, song, and poetry in order to demonstrate the intersection of different art forms with the voice of the people.

As I listened to Glenna Jennings of the visual arts department and Minnita Daniel-Cox of the music department speak, I learned about the history of social reform movements embodied through works of language and visual art.

Among the artists that were discussed were photographers such as Dorthea Lagne and Jacob Riis, and writers such as Victor Hugo and Paul Laurence Dunbar. From photographing the lives of migrant workers during the Great Depression to writing about the African American experience at the end of the 1800s, these artists’ work was all about “giving voice to the voiceless community,” Minnita said.

The title of the event, “Everyday Heroes,” refers to those “voiceless” people who were given a voice through art, and through that voice were able to reach entire populations and affect change.

So who are these heroes and what do their voices sound like? In order for you to discover for yourself, I’ve provided a poem by William Blake, a writer whose work reflects the lives of the turn of the century working class, and some photographs from Lewis Hine and Jacob Riis, whose works focus on ideas of labor rights and the body of the human in relation to work.

A Dream by William Blake

Once a dream did weave a shade
O'er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.

Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangle spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say:

'Oh my children! do they cry,
Do they hear their father sigh?
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me.'

Pitying, I dropped a tear:
But I saw a glow-worm near,
Who replied, 'What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night?

'I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetle's hum;
Little wanderer, hie thee home!'

Campus Cultural Connections is a series of programs presented by UD's Graul Endowed Chair in the Arts and Languages.

Lauren Glass is a senior at the University of Dayton, where she is studying journalism. Currently working as a social media assistant for ArtStreet, she enjoys music, writing, and photography.

Photos by Lewis Hine belong to the U.S. National Archives and have no known copyright restrictions. Photos by Jacob Riis are in the public domain. 

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