/Levon and Kennedy’ visual proof of life after wrongful convictions

Levon and Kennedy’ visual proof of life after wrongful convictions

Armand, a New York-based portrait and documentary photographer, is acutely aware of these ironic parallels. She first encountered a disturbing article in 2012 about Brooks and Brewer. They spent 29 years in prison together before being exonerated by DNA testing in 2008. This would ultimately identify Justin Johnson as the perpetrator. It was a collaboration between Steven Hayne, a dentist, and Michael West, which would rely on poor bite-mark testimony, and a state that refused to verify either official. Armand wrote that Armand, in collaboration with the Mississippi Innocence Project followed the men and their families into rural communities to counter the “silence & oblivion,” which is the risk these rural communities are facing. Levon and Kennedy serve as both a constant proof that life after death row, life after life sentences exists, see Brooks hugging his wife on their wedding day; and see Brewer, surrounded with his brothers, mid-grin — as well as a document about the tension between clinging and leaving Mississippi._x000D

The book unfolds into a family album. Pose portraits of men from their families are paired with their words. This captures several generations with different desires and aspirations. Teenagers discuss the colleges they are planning to attend. There are many conversations about teens considering moving to Texas because of the job opportunities. R’nez, a 5-year old cousin, said, “I want to become a policeman, a fireman and a football player and a wrestler!” Brewer’s niece Roynika, holding her 5-year-old daughter on her lap, says that she wants to work in law enforcement “because I want a better lifestyle and more opportunities for my girls.” “There is not equal opportunity for African Americans in here,” Roynika, Brewer’s niece, says, holding her daughter on her lap. An 1870 Noxubee County Census shows this fraught relationship between geography and chance, history and geography. We also learn more about Tucker Carrington, the Mississippi Innocence Project’s director, in his essay. Tucker co-authored “The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist”, which was another book featured at the festival. We are told that Brewer was born in a tenant house on a plantation and that his mother worked in the cotton fields as a laborer when he was just a teenager. Brooks, who was diagnosed with colon cancer earlier in the year, did read the book. Armand stated in an interview that Brooks saw the book and took it around town. Isabelle Armand will be on the panel “Seeing the Light In Mississippi” at 4 p.m. in the Galloway Fellowship Center. Maude Schuyler clay, Timothy T. Isbell, and Jason Taylor are also on the panel. Tucker Carrington will be appearing on the panel “Southern History” in the Old Supreme Court Room at 1:30 p.m. with panelists Gene Dattel, Lisa M. Corrigan and T.K. Thorne.