Today we’d like to introduce you to Treasure Redmond.
Hi Treasure, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
After working with visual artist and non-profit leader, Dail Chambers, we shared stories about how fruitful artist retreats had been to our individual practices.
At the same time, I had developed a deep admiration for proto-feminist civil rights warrior Fannie Lou Hamer; so much so I had written a book of poems about her which was published in 2015. (chop: a collection of Kwansabas for Fannie Lou Hamer).
In 2017, I purchased a cottage in Belleville, Illinois with the intent of creating a free retreat space for Black creatives. We named it Fannie Lou Hamer House.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We have a great model in that Fannie Lou Hamer House is self-sustaining through Airbnb. This is how we can afford to provide the space to artists free of charge. Unfortunately, in 2019, our space was attacked and vandalized by racists.
Residents who booked through Airbnb stabbed the walls, stabbed and destroyed the art, drew on the ceiling, ruined and stole bedding, attacked furniture, ripped items from the wall, ripped cabinet and closet doors from hinges, carved a swastika into the table, and stuffed feces in the vents. Fannie Lou Hamer’s house was filled with Black art and lots of iconographies that marked it as African American and female.
We are certain this was a hate crime. We went on social media and launched a fundraiser and received an outpouring of material support. Since then we have been VERY careful about who can book the cottage.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am most noted for my collection of poetry, chop: a collection of Kwansabas for Fannie Lou Hamer, my work is economical without being sparse and metaphoric without being overly elaborate. Yet, at the core of my poetry is the desire to heal, educate, and inspire.
Recently, Dr. Howard Rambsy, in his book Bad Men: Creative Touchstone for Black Writers, lists chop as a significant collection of poetry because of its book-length focus on one of the most important Civil Rights figures. Along with my writing, I coordinate several podcasts and workshops, whether it’s information about funding for college, educational assistance, history, or battling the ills of sexism and racism, I have a poem and a podcast for it.
My latest project –THE MEMOIR MY DAD WOULDN’T WRITE — is chronicling the life of my father, noted poet, editor, scholar, historian, photographer, and Black Arts Movement icon, Eugene Redmond who has been instrumental in loving (nurturing, and propelling) three generations of poets/artists who came after him.
We plan to open Fannie Lou Hamer House up to artists who were formerly incarcerated in the fall. We also plan to replicate the model in a city near you!
- Website: https://femininepronoun.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fannielouhamerhouse/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FannieLouHamerHouse
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/hamer_house
Dail Chambers and William Porter